Economic Impact of Tourism in Hawaii From a sustainability perspective, satisfying tourist fantasies and demands for familiarity and comfort is a costly business. In a typical destination area, the ecosystem is leveled, paved, and then re-landscaped with lawns and a handful or two of nursery-grown tree and flower species; landmarks and neighborhoods central to the local community's sense of place are being replaced by chains of hotel and recreation developments; scarce water is diverted for swimming pools and tourists' long, hot showers. Ecological balances are routinely ruined, and in many destinations, international human rights standards are daily violated. Indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable to tourism, losing their customary land and resources, religious freedom, and ultimately their cultures and since for self-sufficiency. Economic Impacts of Tourism in Hawaii Tourism is the world's largest and fastest growing industry. According to recent statistics, tourism provides over 30 percent of total employment in Hawaii, or 1 in 3 jobs.
By the year 2010, these numbers will increase to nearly 40 percent. All considered, tourism's actual and potential economic impact is astounding. But there are also negative sides of tourism's economic boom. + In most all-inclusive package tours, more than 80 percent of travelers' fees go to the airlines, hotels and other international companies, not to local businesses or workers. + Large hotel chain restaurants often import food products to satisfy foreign visitors and rarely employ local staff for senior management positions, preventing local farmers and workers from reaping the benefit of their presence.
+ Resorts and hotels often over-consume natural resources like water and power, forcing utility prices up and causing blackouts and water shortages for locals. + Hotel shops often import or buy mass-produce gift items instead of those produced by local craftspeople and artisans. + Many tourists never leave the hotel grounds or cruise ship, reducing the possibility of tourist income for local businesses. + Faced with limited economic prospects, locals lose the incentive to preserve and conserve their natural and cultural resources. The tourism industry as a whole is highly fragmented and its economic impacts flow across many aspects of tourism; employment, transport, construction, regional development, infrastructure and the environment. As a whole, tourism plays a vital role in the economic development and job creation in the state of Hawaii.
Despite the extensive negative impacts, tourism is not adequately taken into account when making decisions on economic policy or the local ecosystem. Tourism in Hawaii offers significant potential for boosting economic growth, investment and export trade. It is especially effective in developing small business and creating jobs. The tourism industry should be factored in decision-making on infrastructure, employment and export at local, state and federal levels.