With year-round heat climate, beautiful pure magnificence, and a wealthy tradition, Hawaii has earned its spot on the highest of many individuals’s bucket lists. Every day, 1000’s of individuals arrive, excited to expertise the island chain.
Sadly, the excessive ranges of tourism have not gone and not using a detrimental impression on the islands. From overcrowded trails to visitors congestion, the islands at the moment are searching for a brand new sort of customer, who needs to create a deeper reference to Hawaii.
“It is very important Hawaii to uphold the values of our native tradition and we have now been wonderful in portraying the spirit of good day in Hawaii and internationally, however we additionally want to make sure that our guests are additionally on the identical web page,” Malia Sanders, govt director on the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Affiliation, advised USA TODAY.
A brand new sort of customer
“The customer of as we speak needs to study, they wish to have interaction, they wish to play an energetic function in defending the surroundings and preserving the pure wonders and great thing about Hawaii in order that they’ll proceed to take pleasure in it repeatedly,” Sanders mentioned.
In a 2022 Reserving.com survey, 66% of the 30,000 respondents mentioned they needed to expertise the native tradition of the locations they go to, and greater than half of the respondents mentioned they needed to go away the place higher than after they arrived.
“When you plan your itinerary stuffed with issues which can be instructional, cultural, depart a optimistic impression and make you a greater customer, you might be sure to have a very genuine expertise when visiting Hawaii,” she mentioned.
Listed here are a couple of methods you may study extra in regards to the islands’ historical past and tradition on a visit to Hawaii – with out breaking the financial institution.
1. Volunteer (and it may get you a less expensive resort invoice)
Give again to the islands together with your time, and in flip, you will meet devoted locals and make a optimistic impression on the group. Many native nonprofits welcome guests to volunteers, and you’ll find alternatives at travel2change.org.
Your volunteer work could even end in a less expensive resort invoice. The Hawaiian Tourism Authority just lately launched the Malama Hawaii Program, providing guests particular reductions at sure inns after they take part in a devoted volunteer exercise, akin to seashore cleanups or reforestation.
2. Do not act like a vacationer
Failing to take the time to analysis your vacation spot beforehand can really hinder your journey, Sanders mentioned: “At most, you’ll solely uncover what you unintentionally found to, you might encounter misinformation that is not genuine, and you might not have an pleasurable expertise if it finally ends up taking you into locations the place you might not be protected or don’t belong.
“As guests, we have now a duty to be as greatest ready as attainable, whether or not right here in Hawaii or every other vacation spot all over the world. Getting ready ourselves for a deeply wealthy cultural place requires us to do some homework as a customer. We wish to be accountable about how we act as company.”
By this she means studying the customs and traditions of the place you are visiting – like how a kiss on the cheek is a typical greeting within the islands – and what actions could also be dangerous – akin to swimming too near wildlife, or taking rocks or sand dwelling from the seashore.
Take the time to find out about the place you are staying, since completely different elements of the islands have cultural significance. For instance, Oahu’s Waikiki, the center of tourism in Hawaii, was as soon as a historic battle website and the place Hawaiian royalty like Princess Kaiulani owned estates.
3. Skip the chains, store native
“The place you spend your greenback in Hawaii really issues,” Sanders mentioned. “Within the regenerative tourism mannequin, the round economic system is a key part to its success. Shopping for and purchasing native reduces capital flight and retains that greenback constantly circulating into the native economic system.
“Learn the labels of the stuff you purchase whereas on trip. Whether it is made in Hawaii, it’s going to normally say so or have a Hawaii handle on the label.”
Search out mom-and-pop outlets or Native Hawaiian-owned companies, which you’ll find on-line at Kuhikuhi. Buying a present from someplace just like the family-owned Scorching Island Glass gallery on Maui reasonably than a big-name retailer won’t solely immediately reinvest on this native household, but additionally offer you one thing handcrafted and extra related to the islands.
4. Can you actually know a spot in case you do not eat native?
From paniolos to plantations, for a few years, the agricultural sector has been a important a part of feeding Hawaii and increasing Hawaii’s staple exports, like sugar and pineapple. Select to help and get to know the farmers and eaters that use components from the islands. Plus, you will even be tasting a few of the freshest meals obtainable and flavors from the cultures that make up modern-day Hawaii, making the choice a win-win.
Extra vacationers appear to agree. A brand new examine by researchers on the College of Hawaii at Manoa discovered that 78% of vacationers from the continental US are keen to pay a premium for domestically grown meals.
There are many locations to eat in Hawaii that will not drain your pockets, akin to the numerous Asian meals stalls in Maunakea Market in Honolulu’s Chinatown or a plate lunch on the family-owned Sueoka Market on Kauai.
Additionally contemplate going straight to the supply and reserving a farm tour, which you’ll find on each island, like Kona Espresso Residing Historical past Farm on Hawaii Island and O’o Farm in Upcountry, Maui. These farm excursions are sometimes cheap and introduce you to the passionate of us of Hawaii’s agricultural sector. You may also cease by a farmers market to take a look at what tropical produce is grown in Hawaii.
5. It would not get extra genuine than group occasions
All year long, Hawaii hosts many festivals and occasions that remember the cultures and traditions rooted within the islands. In November, there’s the Kona Espresso Cultural Pageant, honoring the farmers, growers and roasters of the longstanding espresso group, on the Massive Island. In September, there’s the Okinawan Pageant on Oahu, celebrating all issues Okinawan (which additionally has a big inhabitants in Hawaii.)
There are additionally smaller, extra frequent occasions that help native companies and the humanities and tradition scene, just like the weekly Hanapepe Artwork Night time on Kauai and month-to-month First Fridays in Honolulu. Entry to those occasions are sometimes free.
6. Get deeper
Though you most likely wish to spend most of your time in Hawaii outdoors on the seashore, it is essential as a customer to get a deeper understanding of Hawaii’s previous and current, from its Polynesian roots, to the tragic overthrow and statehood.
Make time to go to one of many islands’ many cultural establishments, like Honolulu’s ‘Iolani Palace to Hawaii Island’s Hulihe’e Palace. When you’re touring on a price range, some museums like Bishop Museum, the biggest assortment of Hawaiian and Pacific cultural artifacts and pure specimens on the earth, host After Hours occasions with cheaper admission.
7. (Hawaii) isn’t a spot. It is a individuals.
As of late, many inns in Hawaii have determined to make use of cultural advisers, or people who find themselves deeply rooted in Hawaiian tradition and its values and practices. After a few years of the media misrepresenting Hawaiians and their tradition for leisure and tourism, these individuals work laborious to make sure the resort shares Hawaiian tradition in applicable methods and arrange workshops and different actions to teach company. Typically, these workshops are free to resort company, and you may meet and work with revered practitioners of their craft.
These advisers and different locals you meet in your journey could be a good supply that can assist you weed out inauthentic actions, Sanders mentioned.
“Hawaii is the vacation spot, however maybe extra importantly, our guests are coming to expertise the richness of the Hawaiian tradition and our individuals,” she mentioned. “That feeling of deep religious and cultural connection, overflowing aloha and kindness, the sense of household and belonging … that is what they’re lacking in their very own lives, and I’m satisfied for this reason they arrive.”
This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Rethinking tourism in Hawaii: How one can be a respectful customer