Overall perceptions of Hawaii’s tourism industry brought recent indications that tourists visiting the state are still widely appreciated and encouraged.  Earlier this year, the Fall 2022 sentiment survey was released, and it shows residents statewide within Hawaii feel that more effort is being made to balance the economic benefits of tourism and the quality of life for residents.

That’s pretty promising, considering in normal tourism peaks, the visitors outnumber locals by about ten to one. That’s a lot to take on in any part of the world, but Hawaii seems to be a place willing to take on a high degree of acceptance.

But what does that mean, and is it favorable for the Hawaiian Islands survival and open-hearted future?

In 2022 and through mid-2023, support for regenerative tourism within Hawaii, and destination management efforts, continued to score highly as residents said it remains important to educate both visitors and local residents to malama the islands, and each other.

There may be some key indicators of why visitors are seen differently by some locals. These need to be looked at with respective, relevance, and every different community’s long-term ties to tourism as a whole.

So, what are some of the thoughts on how Hawaii locals feel about tourism?

First, it is important to understand what may be driving any sentiment.

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The Economy of an Island State

The best economic driver for any holiday destination is its tourism trade. Tourism in Hawaii makes up a significant amount of the economy, with some industries relying more heavily on the flow of tourists each year.

Visitors handed over almost 18 billion dollars annually in recent years. This generates income for roads, hospitals, and schools.

Without a doubt, visitors mean dollars to locals.

I know we are not here for an economics lesson. So, let’s move on. I can feel your eyes glazing over.

What would be helpful is understanding some of the locals’ thoughts.

So, let’s hear it from the people.

How Do Hawaii Locals Feel About Tourism?

Tourism affects every person who resides in Hawaii, in almost every way. There are not too many people who could imagine life without it.

Some businesses see Hawaii tourism as a family affair, employing generations of people, but one that needs the same if not more attention than any other venture. This business, of course, then becomes this family’s livelihood.

If your income depends on a bus tour of camera-wielding sightseers, you may have a different opinion than that of someone who goes to work in a large office building in Waikiki.

The consensus just might be that while locals are happy to enjoy that tourist dollar, the focus should be more on the expenditure per visitor rather than the increase of visitors as a whole.

Less capacity and larger wallets may equal a lessened strain on facilities and environments.

What Hawaii Locals Want to See More 

Think about Hawaii like a Resident

It is important to see life in any location from the resident’s perspective. The islands are peoples’ homes, although it may be difficult to see that in the excitement of a vacation. Essentially, locals live and work here, some for many years.

Take Some of the Passion Home with You.

If you’re doing things right, your stay will have taught you some things about Hawaiian life beyond the tourist traps. It’s how you convey that to others that will leave an impression.

Tread Lightly

At the end of the day residents will welcome tourists who live by the rules of their state and of their communities, but more so try not to leave a detrimental path behind them. Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave rubbish behind.

Teach Your Children Well

For visitors with kids, consider this a perfect learning opportunity. It means a great deal for children to understand other cultures, and see how other people live. Learning about the inherent beauty, the history, and the culture, not just the flip flops, beaches, and hotel room amenities, is essential for a whole Hawaiian experience.

Remember the Spirit of Aloha

Fundamentally, the spirit is seen as a coordination of mind and heart within every person. Mutual regard for each individual extending warmth and affection to one another with no obligation or expectation in return.

Generally, most locals are happy to see the tourists come and see what life means for them, especially those activities that depict a life many have never seen, learned, or experienced.

People Live here. In the end, what locals want is tourists to have an approach to leaving Hawaii better than they found it.

What Can Tourists Do For Hawaii Locals

It seems tourists need to be mindful, with the aim of a better experience, for all who live here, along with the preservation and regard of what is essentially a homeland like all others within the USA. This State has the same desire to be treasured and valued.

Consider these, always.

Check Your Behavior

This is someone’s home. Think twice about ignoring warning signs and private property. Trespassing, as innocent as you might see it just to get that one photograph is really unacceptable.

Educate Yourself and Understand the Culture

Planning is not just about deciding on accommodations. Make it a point to learn more about the culture and history of these magnificent islands.

Appreciate the Traditions

Hawaiians feel very connected to the ancestors and traditions of the past. Hawaiian culture believes all nature has an intrinsic divinity. Every tree, every animal, every plant. 


Creatures Great and Small.

The animals, birds, and sea life are residents too.  This is an island of diverse people, animals, and plant life. Treating them with the reverence they deserve is crucial in maintaining the islands’ integrity and longevity, not to mention a welcoming place to visit.

While certain world happenings may influence the resident’s idea on what is favorable tourism in Hawaii and what is not, most understand why visitors look to Hawaii.

During these times, locals need to know that their communities are being protected. If they see that is not happening, naturally their defence mechanisms will rise to the top.

Harmonious synchronicity is a goal here. Understand that this is not just a place for fun, sun, sand, and Hawaiian cocktails. This is people’s homes, for some their only home, and will continue to be so through all their generations.


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