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Should Tourists Visit Hawaii?

Should Tourists Visit Hawaii?
Brooklynn Pierce

The argument of whether or not tourists should be visiting Hawaii has been discussed ever since Hawaii became a state. Unfortunately, in situations as complicated as this, there is never a clear-cut answer. On August 8, a fire containing low-growing plants spread quickly across Maui and into Lahaina. By the time the fire was contained on August 12, it had burned thousands of acres and killed at least 115 people. Because of this situation, many people wonder if tourists should continue visiting, or if returning to the island so soon could negatively impact the wildlife.

One side believes that tourists should continue visiting for a few reasons. The first reason is that tourism is very important to Hawaii’s economy. The Hawaii Tourism Authority wrote, “Tourism is the largest single source of private capital for Hawaii’s economy.” Furthermore, the Hawaii Sea Grant says, “In 2019, the visitor industry supported 216,000 statewide, yielded nearly $17.8 billion in visitor spending, and contributed more than $2 billion in tax revenue to state coffers.” Those who are pro-tourism argue that, without tourism, many people and businesses would suffer, as well as the state itself.

Furthermore, many people believe that Maui needs all the tourism it can to rebuild from the wildfires. “Asking visitors to stay away is only going to make it more challenging… Emotions are high, and rightfully so, but when cooler heads prevail, Maui residents will realize that not having a job with a source of income is far better than being homeless, frustrated, and hungry. We are only trying to help, not trying to be a burden on anyone,” AJ, a resident, was quoted in Beat of Hawaii. Many who support the tourism industry believe that, if visitors stop coming to Hawaii, people will suffer more than they already have. 

On the other hand, another side thinks that tourism in Hawaii should be limited. They argue that wildlife should be preserved, and people that visit the island make things worse. According to the University of Prince Edward Island, ecosystems and wildlife species are destroyed and choked out because of deforestation and construction for tourism. To add, many Native Hawaiians don’t appreciate how stereotypes are used to draw visitors to the islands. Hawaiians who are against tourism argue that the preservation of their island and their culture should be more important than tourism. 

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To add, because of the recent disaster, some believe that Maui needs time to grieve. Caren, a resident, told Beat of Hawaii, “I heard people comment that they would continue their Maui destination and take their chances… Maybe we need to step back and think about what just happened to the humans, the animals, and livelihoods that have been lost and devastated by this tragedy… Let Maui heal!” Those who are anti-tourism think that returning to the island for vacation is insensitive and inconsiderate to everyone who was affected. 

To conclude, although Hawaii needs the income tourists bring in to help support the island, visitors should be respectful of the recent tragedy and do the research to reduce the amount of waste they contribute to the island. It is true that, because of all the locally owned businesses and the economy that Hawaii has evolved to, Maui would suffer if tourism completely stopped. However, when visitors disregard the natives and wildlife, not only is it disrespectful, but it can also have long-term effects on the island. The earth will outlive humans, so we should do a good job taking care of it while we’re here, and the environment should come before the economy. Overall, in this situation, the best thing tourists can do while visiting the island is supporting local businesses and using environment-safe products. 

 

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About the Contributors
Aurora George, Reporter
Hi, my name is Aurora George. I am a sophomore at Westview, and I am a writer for the newspaper. I joined newspaper because I enjoy writing and I wanted to contribute to the school. I am looking forward to expanding my skill set and learning more about journalism. I enjoy writing news stories and opinion pieces.
Brooklynn Pierce, Editor in Chief (Online)
I'm Brooklynn Pierce and I am a Junior this year. I am the online manager for the Westview Wire. I love to write about music and important school events. My main goal this year is to help share out our reporters' stories and to write many of my own.
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