Hawaii is referred to as “The Aloha State,” but these days, it seems our island home is more like the “The Controversial State”!
Turns out, there’s an effort underfoot to urge people to boycott Hawaii. And, yes, it has to do with the President’s travel ban.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the #BoycottHawaii movement started one day after a federal judge in the Aloha State blocked Trump’s recently revised travel ban. The ban calls for limitations on immigration from six majority-Muslim countries.
The paper reports that the hashtag #BoycottHawaii took off on Twitter on last Thursday morning after several people said they would no longer travel to the island state in the Pacific Ocean, a popular vacationing destination for many Americans.
What effect might #BoycottHawaii have?
Local tourism officials say they’re not particularly worried #BoycottHawaii will take a toll on visitor numbers. According to KHON2, talk of the boycott was discussed at a scheduled board meeting for the Hawaii Tourism Association, but chairman Rick Fried says it’s not alarming at all.
“People have a right to express their opinion. We don’t think people that are at all thoughtful and like to come to Hawaii for the things that we offer will be affected in the slightest,” he told KHON2.
Wednesday’s ruling merely grants a temporary restraining order, and more legal battles are expected in the appeals court, and possibly even the Supreme Court.
However long it lasts, Fried said, “I think it will have no effect. I think the fact that we took the right position, in my view, if anything will keep getting brought up more and more, and I think it could in the long run affect us positively.”
In fact, Fried tells KHON2, he thinks the hashtag could have the opposite effect. Fried says he believes it’s more likely that people will decide to come to Hawaii because of the challenge, and not the other way around.
What does #BoycottHawaii mean for you?
Naturally, the #BoycottHawaii movement will need to gain in popularity and reach in order to have any impact on Hawaii’s visitor industry and/or economy. Judging from the record numbers of visitors we saw in 2016, it’s unlikely too many folks will let politics keep them from enjoying a Hawaii vacation and the abundance of Hawaii activities they could enjoy.
On the other hand, if the movement gains traction, Hawaii could suffer from lower visitor numbers. In that case, visitors who choose to come here could enjoy cheaper prices and better incentives. Or a little more room on the beach!
Whether you support #BoycottHawaii or don’t, no one knows for sure what kind of impact (if any) the hashtag will have on the islands. What we DO know is this: Hawaii is an amazing destination, and it would be a shame to miss-out because of politics!