Growth and Rise of Tourism in Hawaii

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Previous research explains how Western powers had a strand of European philosophy explaining the idea of the Indigenous Polynesians as noble savages, admiring the authority and dignity of leaders, their skills in navigation and boat designs, their physical beauty and their familiarity with the ocean (Connel, J. 2003). Establishing the perceived idea that islanders are erotic and inhabitat. Baring similarities to the stories of Atlantis, where primitivism in which the natives would show the qualities of self-discipline and courage. The idea of noble savages is used in the modern age as a marketing scheme to attract the attention of potential visitors as a means of generating income. However, by attracting a large crowd of visitors, there are also environmental, cultural and economic factors that are needed to be considered when choosing to further develop the tourism industry (Connel, J. 2003).

Tourists would seek to immerse themselves with the indigenous culture, however the tourism industry guides the gaze and movements of visitors towards cultural differences, which are regulated and a good source of income. Taking advantage of the unfamiliar environment to stimulate different responses of the visitors, manipulating what visitors perceive about the culture. While also, restricting the gaze of the visitors on the working conditions of the workers and limiting their gazes on the life of the indigenous community outside of highly populated areas (Gibson, C. 2010). The controlled movements of visitors tends to give the idea of having a less authentic cultural experience for visitors. Although, the cultural experience still provides a comfortable atmosphere, despite how less authentic it may see.

The attitude that tourists have on the culture presented to them is supported by Agrusa, W., et al. (2010) . In their (Agrusa, W., et al. 2010) study the results gathered indicates that Hawaiian tourism isn’t representing the Hawaiian culture as perceived by visitors. Further suggesting that the reintegration of Hawaiian culture into tourism is needed to feel more authentic to visitors. Such an example is when tourists are interested in learning more about the Hawaiian language, so that they can converse and interact with the indigenous Hawaiian, thereby, experiencing and respecting the native Hawaiian culture.The culture is the biggest asset for the tourism sector as it stimulates the interest of visitors to learn more about the Hawaiian culture, hopefully, bridging the gap between the indigenous Hawaiians and the visitors. Agrusa, W., et al. (2010) recommends that a new approach catered towards a more authentic experience for visitors by providing a more authentic cultural experience, such as the practice of authentic cultural offerings in Waikiki Island.

Research done by Ishihara and Nagahama (2017) Identifies several factors that contributes to Hawaii’s environmental impact with regards to the growth of tourism. They(Ishihara and Nagahama. 2017) concluded within their research that Hawaii faces a waste water problem, where resorts in Hawaii consumes 30 times more of what Japanese resort destinations(about 2000-10000 litres). Other problems has also been highlighted by the research, stating that there are also plastic problems (from various container waste products) and the diminishing quality of life due to the build up of waste within the ocean.

GhulamRabbany, et al (2013) argues that construction of tourism facilities for accommodations and recreation tends to cause sewage pollution. The sewage runoff can affect coral and marine biodiversity and can threaten the health of humans and animals. The effects of sewage runoff can also lead to Miln’s (2013) discusses on how Hawaiian monk seal may be extinct within the next few decades. Reason being is due to the loss of biodiversity due to factors such as pollution. One other example of the loss of biodiversity how Hawaii has experienced and a good example is the tree snail Achatinella, where perhaps ten of the forty different species had become extinct.

GhulamRabbany, Md., et al (2013) discusses how visitors can also damage vegetation via trampling, thereby, the more frequent the trail is used, the more likely it would lead to a loss of biodiversity. Shoreline development such as extensive paving, extraction of resources (such as sand), continuous construction for tourism infrastructure, can lead to increased sewage pollution and increasing sediment in the water, can lead to the destruction of the coral habitat. These findings are supported by previous research conducted by Saito (2013), where resource consumption and waste generation was calculated and the results found that tourism industries, such as accommodations and restaurants accounted for 44.7% waste water consumption and 10.7% island wide waste generation. Thereby recommending that the tourism industries implement strategies that would lead to economic savings such as the introduction of renewable energy. Hawaii can experience a colossal economic impact if visitors decides not to visit Hawaii due to coastal water contamination, since $15 billion dollars revenue is generated by tourism and it accounts for 29% of the economic output in 2012.

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Kaya and Yalcintas (2010) argues that the transportation sector uses most of the energy produced in Hawaii. Hawaii has the potential to invest into more renewable energy efficient technologies, such as geothermal and wind, it is not effectively utilized. Most of the Hawaiian main Islands have been converted into agricultural land, where chemicals are heavily used and threatens to leach toxic chemicals. Management practices has been put in place to help preserve the ocean and land and help to promote collaboration between the tourism industry and the government (Peng, M., Oleson, K.L.L. 2017).

Some examples of development in other countries that minimizes impact to the environment can be taken from eco-resorts in the US. Where wooden walkways are being used as a means to avoid trampling vegetation, using renewable energy technologies such as solar power and wind power generators. As a way to reduce water wastage, computers fitted with monitors to help analyse, keep track and also help effectively combat energy and water consumption (GhulamRabbany, Md., et al. 2013). However, on Maui Island, tourism development is limited by the availability of water for consumption. Droughts are frequent on the island, thereby straining water resources for tourism and climate change. Thereby the researchers calling Maui Island a “fragile paradise”, as the community is caught up in a dilemma of choosing what is more important, the economic growth of the island or environmental sustainability.

However, results from (Peng, M., Oleson, K.L.L. 2017) found that respondents do care for the water quality of the coral reef, although their study shows that by focusing on environmental sustainability, it would be beneficial as it would lover expenses. Peng, M., Olesson, K.L.L., also implicated in their study that by reducing the frequency of water recreational activities could have gained $205M USD consumer surplus. The figure took into account the number of beach attendees and recreational activities that were available in 2003. It is estimated from their results that by improving coral cover from 10% to 20%, would attract the attention of visitors and would offer more activities to help educate them on the benefits of sustaining the environment, could generate a consumer surplus of $274M USD and an extra $128 million, when coral coverage is increased by 25-45%.

The destruction of land by influential entities such as huge landowners and multinational corporations for the expansion of tourism also prostitutes the culture of the people native to the land. Destruction of land for the expansion of tourism leads to a population increase, pollution and increasing pressure on Hawaiian resources to cater for tourists, which, also displaces many indigenous Hawaiians, forcing them to leave their homelands to survive outside the influence of the tourism sector. Applying to work for low paying jobs and leaving many indigenous Hawaiians as the working poor, outnumbered by the number of tourist with a ratio of 35 tourists to 1 indigenous Hawaiian(Cole, S., Morgan, N.)

Both Cole and Morgan’s (2010) study is supported by previous research done by Lukasz, et al (2007), where they explain how many of the traditional jobs have disappeared and how the indigenous Hawaiians sought jobs within the tourism industry, thereby giving rise to the idea of ‘hula’ marketing, which is simply the sale of the indigenous culture. WIth the expansion of the tourism industry, many sacred burial sites have been cleared, increasing pressures on the culture and ironically slowly destroying what the tourism industry markets. The tourism industry is often scrutinized by stakeholders, due to the lack of responsibility the industry has for the local environment and the wellbeing of the indigenous Hawaiians. Helu-Thaman (1993) emphasis the need for the people must first recognize and understand the predicament that befalls them. To understand the role the people play a part in with regards to the consequence of western cultural imperialism. Where the land and the people are seen as a commodity, exploited for profits.

WIth the influx of visitors to Hawaii, competition between the locals and the visitors arises from several issues such as traffic congestion, which stems from the consequence of the lack of environment needed to support large investments into transportation. One other issue that arises from the influx of visitors is the competition to own private land, as many visitors would want to settle in Hawaii (Carlsen, J., Butler, R. 2011) . Carlson and Butler (2011) concluded that it is not possible to achieve the ideal sustainable environment that can support tourism with regards to transportation when taking into consideration the economical, environmental, political and legal values into consideration. Although, it is not impossible, new strategies is needed to achieve the ideal sustainable environment now, when resources are currently available.

(Moscardo, G., Murphy, L. 2014) notes how government agencies are reluctant to relinquish control over the tourism planning process, which is uncommon when considering further development. Changes to the national governments and the state would result in considerably lesser support for the community’s sustainability projects. However, in Waikiki’s stance, the residents have decided that they have a good attitude towards tourism and would like to focus on its redevelopment on the island. Recommendations by (Sheldon, P., Abenoja. 2001) suggests that Waikiki needs to be redeveloped with the partnership between the community (residential and the business community) and also with government agencies. This approach has been found to be favourable with Miami Beach’s redevelopment process. Some redevelopment areas suggested by Sheldon, P. Abenoja. Is to do with the development of Waikiki’s cultural sites, to emphasize Waikiki’s cultural heritage, thereby, reflecting upon authentic Hawaiian cultural roots(2013). Lukasz, et al (2007) concludes that even if the tourism industry is important for the Hawaiian economy, there will be a time where the country cannot sustain the demand for growth. Eventually the prosperity of the tourism industry will halt due to several factors such as environmental sustainability, policy, legal and further tourism development.

As a consequence to the expansion of tourism, environmental damage and land exploitation, results in low-wage labour and cultural stereotyping. Thereby, creating a less authentic cultural experience for visitors and emphasizes the need for collaboration between government agencies and the community to better re-develop the tourism industry to help preserve cultural heritage and to manage the environment sustainably. With the ever increasing influx of tourists into the state of Hawaii, more infrastructure would be needed, however, the prosperity of the industry will come to a halt due to the availability of the resources present. New strategies are needed to be implemented, which not only will help the environment and the people but will also be advantageous for the economy.

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