HONOLULU (KHON2) –Millions of people visit Hawaii every year but have we reached a tourism tipping point?
Councilmember Kymberly Pine (Ewa, Waianae, Makua) says we have.
From crowded beaches to rubbish being left behind, to trespassing on private property. Councilwoman Pine says more residents are feeling the effects of over-tourism.
“I think many people are starting to report to their leaders that they feel like their private spaces are being taken over, there’s a lot of places not being left the way they were with trash buildup or people not respecting heiau because they don’t understand the significance of it or people not respecting the beaches,” she explained.
She proposed Bill 51, which is a pledge, aimed to keep “Hawaii, Hawaii.”
The pledge is aimed at promoting visitor awareness and on-island behaviors that are as environmentally responsible and culturally sensitive as possible.
“It’s the beginning of a larger discussion on how we can have better tourism management in the City and County of Honolulu,” she said.
“For us to manage tourism better, we first have to help explain why this place is so special and help them understand how they can play a very big role in keeping Hawaii, Hawaii,” Pine added.
She said Hawaii has reached a tipping point, and it starts with the tour companies to teach the visitors what is pono and not.
She said she sees busses drop off many visitors at the beach unattended and then she’ll see trash, floaties, and sunscreen left behind.
“That is a company that was not interested in promoting the kind of values that we want to promote in this pledge,” she said.
“We are at the tipping point because people who have made money off of tourism have never had the hard discussions. In the last 20 years, since I’ve been involved in working with the government, where we say, ‘How are we going to manage all of these people, which kind of tourist are we going to bring here?’”
If the bill passes, she said she would like to see educational videos on flights and would ask that visitors sign a pledge along with the agriculture forms they already fill out when they arrive.
“Have a video about taking care of our island, leaving it the way you found it, or maybe even leaving it a little better,” Pine said.
She said the issue needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
“If we are going to have the same amount of tourists then it has to be managed better or people are going to have to start a harder discussion of limiting the amount of people coming here,” she said.
“We’re not willing to exchange ruining our natural resources forever for a quick buck.”
Hawaii and Kauai counties have similar pledges.