Locals first for Hawaii Tourism, the turtles and traffic jams
Saturday’s protest against tourists in Hawaii was a shock for visitors from Waikiki that took a scenic drive to the Northshore of Oahu to meet turtles and hang out at the many miles of white sandy Northshore Beaches. Some residents on the Northshore of Oahu want this beautiful part of the islands for locals first.
On Saturday a group of “local” protesters prevented rental cars with tourists on Laniakea Beach from parking.
Around 50 local protesters showed up to Laniakea Beach with signs and not very much Aloha on Saturday to speak out against tourist traffic. The protester’s cars completely blocked off a popular road shoulder so no one else could park on the Mauka side of Kamehameha Highway near Laniakea Beach. This happened several years ago when concrete barriers were put up on Kamehameha Hwy to eliminate parking spots for beachgoers. A court rules in favor of tourism at that time.
Tourism is the largest business in the US State of Hawaii and watching the turtles adds to the magical experience of Aloha. This Aloha is gone when it comes to some residents on the Northshore. The problem is traffic. Tourism is also big business on Oahu’s Northshore. Some say the Northshore Chamber of Commerce is the only Chamber of Commerce in the World wanting to prevent business.
Hawaii Tourism has been growing every year for decades, but overall tourism revenue has been stable. The result is more tourists, also known as “overtourism.” eTN had reported about Overtourims in Hawaii. Click here to read the latest eTN summary.
“Traffic is a big problem on the Northshore. I lived here for almost 30 years and traveling the 7 miles from my house in Pupukea to Haleiwa town used to take maximum 10 minutes. Now, most of the time you can be in your car for 45 minutes or more. To blame the tourists for this is offensive to me as a resident.”, said Juergen Steinmetz, publisher of eTurboNews, a Northshore resident.
“Tourism is everyone’s business, and everyone directly or indirectly in our State relies on tourism income. The problem is management, road condition or a smart solution to allow our visitors to experience the Aloha Spirit and enjoy our stunning nature. There is plenty to share.
“It’s not about preventing beachgoers from coming here,it’s not about yelling at tourists who are our clients, it’s about getting the State to build highways, parking places, and control access to make sure turtles will still put a smile on our faces and the faces of our visitors for generations to come. I would love to see a shuttle bus doing a turtle run or a Hawaiian train line servicing the beaches.”
Another resident said: “The signs sent the wrong messages!!! I did not hold a sign for that reason! Yes it was good to see traffic moving and yes we got the news to come and interview us! The reality is that it’s not the tourists’ faults it’s the darn city and county and our representatives not doing their jobs!!!”
“I say we all go next week and not block the lot but get people to volunteer to be in the lot to advise the tourists that if they could cross together and ask them to please cross at either end of the lot in a group say every 5 minutes instead of all over the place st all times!”
A tourist told a local news station:”I was a little offended. Yeah, I felt like it was against us that are trying to enjoy the island and everything that it has to offer.”
Another tourist said: “I just thought that we contribute to them a lot, to their income and that they would be more happy to see us.”
Another Northshore resident asked this on Facebook: “Thoughts? I shadowed HNN interviewing some tourist couple and found it interesting to observe. Seems like many tourists feel entitled because they pay “good” money to get here, etc. and they can do whatever they want regardless of what anyone thinks or cares. I’ve seen first hand this attitude a lot personally with tours and friends and people coming to visit…they just don’t get it or understand. Not all but many and is really disheartening. And disrespectful on many levels….but they don’t see it that way. Such a tricky thing and wonder how Hawaii will address this over tourism issue which I feel is the core to this problem. 8 million people coming to Oahu a year and growing…education is crucial to getting out to these people in my opinion.”