Aloha Bruce is back in the home studio after a two-week hiatus to talk about the pressing topic of overtourism in Hawaii and some recent developments at the Hawaii Tourism Authority on this latest episode of the Hawaii Vacation Podcast.
Bruce starts with some recent news and details about his recent trip to California, including plans to bring back supersonic air travel akin to the Concorde by the company Boom. Bruce says that flight times to Hawaii could be cut in half with the return of supersonic travel.
Bruce says that easy travel options to Hawaii have seen a spike in the cost of a Hawaii vacation, with the average price per night of Hawaii accommodations now at $371. “That’s the highest I’ve ever seen,” Bruce says, noting that high-end properties are likely driving up that nightly average. Now is the time to book, as demand is currently through the roof. He discusses the lack of housekeeping services and employees in Hawaii and the possibility that some properties are considering eliminating those services. Many in the HAT Facebook community say they don’t need housekeeping during a Hawaii vacation.
Bruce moves on to the complex topic of overtourism in Hawaii and some static from various social media sectors indicating that you may not be welcome in Hawaii. “There seems to be a vocal minority of people claiming that we don’t want people here,” Bruce says HAT’s philosophy has always been respectful of Hawaii’s people and culture. The pandemic shutdown, Bruce says, gave people a taste of what Hawaii is like without the tourism industry and the people it attracts.
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Bruce discusses the Hawaii Tourism Authority awarding a massive marketing contract to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. Bruce says the effort aims to advance the “Malama Hawaii” concept and awareness of Hawaii’s cultural and social needs. Bruce says that it may have been a politically-motivated decision and questions the motivation of the decision, noting that the CNHA has no experience in marketing Hawaii to the world.
“If you’re booking your Hawaii vacation, I can tell you that most people here will love that you’re here,” Bruce says. He explains that this is not simply because of the revenue it generates but rather because people here love to share their aloha and love for the land.
Bruce then recalls some of the things that have helped curb overtourism in Hawaii, such as reservations at places like Hanauma Bay. “People still think that they’re going to come here and ‘wing it’! It just doesn’t work that way anymore.” He explains the importance of planning for a Hawaii vacation, even for dinner or tour reservations.
Bruce says that “voluntourism” awareness is increasing and how important it is for visitors to respect Hawaii’s people and cultures while on a Hawaii vacation and not “do anything stupid” like ignoring warning signs or littering. Bruce says claims of overtourism in Hawaii are over-hyped, and the best way to plan and enjoy a respectful Hawaii vacation is to work with local companies like HAT and our sister company Secret Hawaii Tours, that have your best interests at heart and want to help you enjoy the perfect Hawaii vacation.