(Courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority)
All major islands showed an increase in visitors:
1. Kauai: 11.2%, 1,015,000 visitors [Commentary follows] Kauai, although roughly the same size as Oahu andMaui, drew less visitors. Thus we remain the lowest, which means less traffic. On the other hand, if it were higher, more money would come intoKauai’s economy. Most residents ofKauailike the lower head count.
- Oahu: 48.5% increase, 4,397,000 visitors [Commentary follows] Oahu receives the benefit on hundreds of flights a day from all over the world, many of which transfer to interisland flights fromHonolulu. TheHonoluluarrivals count towardsOahu’s disproportionate numbers. Oahu is usually the island visited by first-timers, to see Diamondhead, Waikiki, and theMissouri/Arizona Memorials, museums, iconic buildings, and displays. Later the visitors want to visit theNeighborIslandson the next trip
- Maui: 24%, with 2,209,000 visitors. [Commentary follows] Maui has over twice the bustling bodies and traffic as Kauai, packed into an island about the same size asKauai.Mauihas lots of nice hotels and vacation rental condos, attractive areas such as Wailea, I’O Valley, Haleakala volcano, and ocean outings. But peaceful and relaxing? I’ll leave that up to you.
- Big Island of Hawaii: 14.5% increase, 1,357,000 visitors. [Commentary follows] For an island that is larger than all otherHawaiian islandsput together, this is a surprisingly low number. An unwinnable battle with volcanic smog (VOG) which is killing the protea farms, and damaging the coffee industry, is ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ Indeed many publications warn all visitors with any sort of respiratory or cardiac condition to avoid The Big Island for health reasons. The island has attractions such as the world’s tallest volcanoes, Mauna Loa andMauna Kea, and continuous (going on 3 decades) lava flows into the ocean. But this same continuous lava eruption discharges tons of sulfur dioxide into the island’s atmosphere daily, and if the trade winds are just so, this blows over to the nearby islands. Media has begun calling this ‘haze,’ to sugar-coat the ravages of the vog.
Why the sudden and welcome influx of tourist with fat wallets? Where else can they go?
Mexico, Central andSouth America? Africa and theMiddle East?Europewith so many countries with high unemployment, occasional riots, an unfavorable Euro-to-dollar exchange rate? The Caribbean, with high riskCuba,Haiti, andJamaica, plus hurricanes aplenty?
Asia andIndonesia, where many areas like evenBalihave become risky due to religious intolerances and idealogs?
By default that leaves the American Paradise,Hawaii and Kauai. American laws, currency, English spoken, friendly people, major eco-oriented movements, and a laid back, relaxing environment. Now that’s a vacation or an ideal spot for the second home.