Is Hawaii really ready for 10 million tourists?
From the summit of Haleakala to the beautiful beaches, bays and trails of just about every island, have we reached the tipping point for tourism in the islands? Hawaii is forecast to see 10 million tourists this year. How do we manage this before locals start to push back like they have in cities like Barcelona and beyond?
Hawaii tourism shows signs of trouble. Inflation-adjusted spending per visitor has trended downward. Diminishing economic contribution, eroding resident sentiment, and increasing congestion and stress on sites and attractions provide evidence that the current governance model is inadequate for effectively managing the increasingly complex issues facing Hawaii tourism.
With a new leadership team at the Hawaii Tourism Authority, residents clamoring for more regulation and the 10 million visitor mark eclipsed, the Hawaii tourism industry is at a crossroads.