Tourism In Hawai’i


Isa Taylor

A green sea turtle resting on North Shore beach with other visitors. These turtles are the most common type of honu, and often rest on beach shores to conserve energy and increase their body temperature. Green sea turtles were considered critically endangered at one point as a result of factors such as coastal development, pollution runoff, and ocean plastic (which still are very big problems for marine life). While the green sea turtle population has seen improvement, the hawksbill turtle population is one of the species in Hawai’i that remains endangered.

Alika Gusman, Multimedia News

A Pilot’s Perspective

While thinking about the recent controversy over tourism in Hawai’i, perspectives on the topic may seem to fall into one of two categories: tourists or locals. Jonathan Smith, a Co-Pilot for United Airlines, brings novelty into this dilemma by being not only a pilot who brings bringing tourists into Hawai’i but also a local resident of Oahu. 

Smith says that after the state reopened, tourism increased.

“Tourism in Hawaii used to be seasonal, like for Christmas and summertime, but now it’s at a constant rate,” Smith said.

Smith states that since the state reopened following the lockdown on DATE for tourism, there have been around 200 flights in and out of Hawai’i every day.

“Since they lifted all the restrictions, everything in numbers is back to pre-Ccovid,” Smith said.

Smith says that during Covid-19, there were at most 50 flights being flown in and out of Hawai’i every day. 

“When Coronavirus hit, I could walk through the terminal at Honolulu and not see another person,” Smith said. 

As a person whose career lies solely in tourism and travel, Smith feels that opening the state was needed for Hawaii’s economy, as tourism is the “bread and butter” for Hawaii. 

“I think as long as the beauty of the islands isn’t being overrun by tourists and they’re coming vaccinated and boosted, then it would be relatively safe to have tourists,” Smith said. “I’m glad to be bringing tourists into Hawaii. Not only am I bringing tourists, but I’m bringing family and friends to their loved ones.”

Average home costs living on Oahu by district. Infographic made using Canva. (Shauna Matsuda)