Tourism in Hawaii Has Reached 'Tipping Point', Say Experts
Tourism in Hawaii has reached “tipping point”, experts from the University of Hawaii have warned, as annual visitor numbers reach ten million on the small Pacific archipelago.
Over 2,000 miles off mainland USA, Hawaii has long been considered a dream holiday destination. However, with increased flight capacity bringing higher footfall to the islands, locals and industry experts have started voicing concerns about the looming impact of overtourism.
“We’re not at a crisis point yet. We’re at a tipping point. We have so many visitors, we need to get serious about creating management programs,” Frank Haas, a contributor to the University of Hawaii paper, told WFAA.
“Hawaii tourism shows signs of trouble,” their paper begins. “At risk both for its ability to maintain an acceptable quality of life for residents, quality of experience for visitors, and economic vitality for the state.
“Hawaii tourism has been negatively affected by rapid growth, diminishing economic contributions, and the lack of a comprehensive tourism management plan.”
Southwest Airlines recently announced it would begin operating 28 daily flights to Hawaii from late May. The airline will fly from San Diego, Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento, with plans to add further inter-island routes.
“At the peak of the service that we’ve already announced, we will be at 4,900 seats a day,” Southwest’s senior director Steven Swan said. “That’s 2,800 interisland air seats and 2,100 trans-Pacific air seats daily that have been added to the Hawaii market.”
The University of Hawaii's white paper looks into how tourists are spending less money on their holidays in Hawaii. The authors of the paper have theorised that with the new Southwest routes, Hawaii Air may be forced to lower its inter-island flight prices, allowing visitors more money to spend on the ground.
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