Overtourism in Hawai’i


Julie Leon, Staff Writer

The Aloha State, known for its culture, adventure, and history, is everyone’s dream destination. There are so many things to do on Hawaii’s beautiful islands, like sightseeing, hiking, or relaxing on the beach, so why wouldn’t it be the perfect holiday vacation?

Since Hawai’i is such a hot spot for vacationers, its islands are being burdened by an overwhelming number of tourists, also known as overtourism. In 2021 alone, over 6 million people visited Hawai’i, with about 100,000 people coming on the islands per day. Overtourism began by the 1980s, when Hawaii’s visitor count first surpassed 6 million people, and it’s sad to say that the native locals have been most affected by it ever since.

One of the many consequences of overtourism is the disturbance of Hawaii’s environment. Tourists are so attracted to the natural beauty of the islands that they don’t realize it is causing endangerment in many animal and plant species. Their environment is being overdeveloped, meaning an excessive amount of its natural resources are being used, negatively impacting the islands as a whole. Also, the surplus of vacationers is causing more air pollution, vandalization, and litter in the surrounding oceans. Hawaiians are vocal about their concerns for Hawaii’s wildlife, and tourists’ disregard for following rules that protect the natural environment.

Not only is overtourism negatively affecting wildlife, but is also interfering with Hawaiian locals and businesses. The uncontrolled amount of people is causing traffic congestion, overcrowded beaches, as well as a major increase in food prices. To add, the popularity of booking platforms, such as AirBnB, Homeaway, and Vrbo, are taking money from local hotels, motels, and other businesses, also causing issues with the locals’ housing rent.

The state of Hawai’i is trying their absolute best to fix this ongoing problem. Many repercussions were added, for example, a bill was proposed to put a limit on tourists numbers, requiring reservations for the island’s top attractions, and creating more wildlife programs to preserve their environment were all recently implemented to help the state’s problem. However, you may not realize that overtourism is an issue in other popular holiday destinations, such as Venice, Italy; Santorini, Greece; Machu Picchu, Peru, and more. With the effects of overtourism remaining the same, pollution increase, natural habitat loss, and negatively affected locals.

It’s not hard to see why Hawai’i is such a favorite for tourists, after all it is a wonderful vacation spot. Visiting its one of a kind mountains, volcanoes, and beaches may be something you want to experience. If you ever find yourself on the beautiful islands of the Aloha State, make your best effort to shop, dine, and stay at locally owned businesses, as well as observe wildlife and not interfere with it, to try to fix Hawaii’s overtourism issues.