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Hawaii Locals Want Tourists To Be More Respectful: Here Is What Travelers Need To Know Before Visiting

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Every country, every state, and every city handled the COVID-19 pandemic differently for a variety of reasons. Restrictions in Texas were different than restrictions in Hawaii, and so on and so forth. The 2020 shutdown of Hawaii tourism left lasting effects on the small isolated state. With Covid now largely behind us, 2023 is now experiencing a travel rush!

tourist at hawaii waterfall

Hawaii is no stranger to being a hugely popular destination for travelers across the world, but locals have mixed feelings about how the future of tourism should be handled. 

From The Lockdown To The Future

When travelers were no longer allowed to visit the 50th state, residents received a rare glimpse into uncrowded beaches, spacious hiking trails, much less traffic, and no lines to the best restaurants. Some locals enjoyed the peace and serenity of Hawaii so much that they called for an end to tourism entirely. While that may be a stretch, it was enough to catch the eye of the local government. 

hiker in hawaii

The Hawai‘i Visitors & Convention Bureau launched a new program to educate visitors on how to approach their stay in a more respectful manner. It’s called Mālama Hawai’i, roughly translating to “take care of Hawaii”. This program is designed to embrace travelers instead of pushing them away. An opportunity for travelers to show they can give back to this beautiful land rather than take from it.

Some keywords of the native Hawaiian language to notate:

Aloha – love and fellowship
Kapu – do not trespass (respect the land)
Ha’aha‘a – humility
Hōʻihi – respect
Kūpuna – ancestors (don’t forget the past)

Embracing the foundation of Hawaiian culture will give visitors an understanding of how to be more respectful during their stay.

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man in hawaiian shirt on the beach

Recommendations From Locals

In typical Hawaiian culture, kids are raised by a set of values to use as a guide for their entire lives. When those values aren’t reciprocated by tourists, that’s when frustration sets in and gives tourism a bad name.

All locals seek from visitors is to be respected and to remember that visiting this picturesque state is like being in someone else’s home, sometimes literally. Whether it’s the capital city of Honolulu or the scenic island of Maui, all that is asked is to treat beautiful Hawaii as their very own. 

“Leave the beach nicer than you came”

@jonetteaiko I will fight anyone who litters on sight #hawaii ♬ original sound – leiolani jonette aiko

No one likes visiting a dirty beach. That would be the complete opposite reason to pay money for a vacation. When envisioning a beach getaway, most would think of pristine waters, untouched sand, and the sound of crashing waves. Imagine what it's like for locals to have all of that in their backyard, only for someone to visit their land and ruin it with utter disrespect and inconsideration. 

“Hawaii is NOT your amusement park”

@nomakeanykine #hawaii#tourists#norespectforlandorpeople ♬ original sound – XANNYXAN

Locals want their guests to know that signs are posted for a reason. No matter how picture-perfect a waterfall may be, if there is a “no trespassing” sign, it’s best to obey it. Without boundaries, Hawaii’s natural wonders would be a free-for-all and ruined faster than a tourist could say Ku’ia kahele aka na’au ha’aha’a.

“Please respect the wildlife”

@dontgofamily Replying to @georgiaboy808 #greenscreen Respect the wildlife of Hawaii. #fyp #hawaii #respect #wildlife ♬ original sound – ViaVia Tiumalu Jr.

One of the best experiences one could have in Hawaii is experiencing the vast array of wildlife. The problem is some tourists do not respect the invisible line of getting too close to nature. Whether it’s seals, sea turtles, or coral reefs, visitors should have more of an appreciation for what Hawaii offers. Otherwise, they can not only expect to get a side eye from locals but also a hefty fine, potentially in the thousands of dollars. 

“Support small businesses”


When dating my husband, it was really eye-opening some of the issues that go on in Hawaii. These are just a few that i have seen while dating him and visiting/living on thr islands. I think this applies to anywhere you travel! Respecting the culture, people and land. I also feel even though i am not Hawaiian, that i have some responsibility because this is my husbands and childrens culture and i have this platform. Nothing but love and aloha here 🤍🫶🏼

♬ original sound – Kat Kamalani

Hawaiians have so much pride in their history and give pushback to many corporations that set their sights on invading their homeland. One of the best ways to give back is to support the local economy rather than make the rich richer. 

  • Stay at a local’s property on AirBnB
  • Rent a car from a local on Turo
  • Visit a market to support local vendors
  • Avoid chain restaurants and eat local cuisine

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Monday 27th of February 2023

As someone that lived on Maui for 32 years, I can tell you it is not the visitor that desecrates the islands. All you have to do is drive to an area which is primarily where locals live and you will find trash, abandoned vehicles and appliances tossed on the side of the road.

Go to any local beach and instead of packing out the trash, most locals leave it piled up on the ground next to the already full trash can.

If your car window is smashed and your belongings stolen, don't look at the visitor. It is always a local.

When the locals start respecting the aina, that is when I will start defending them.


Monday 8th of January 2024

@LeewardJJ, Even thought I have never been to Hawaii but I still find it hard and bad for the locals


Saturday 4th of March 2023

@Dondonsurplage, bro you are spot on. Same for the Oahu Leeward side. Burned out cars, entire living rooms, appliances everywhere. Locals do this and it's so sad. Then I, a white person, get crapped on like I don't belong here. Oh really? Lol Still love it here tho!!!!

Silvia Von lindemann

Monday 27th of February 2023

I grow up in Hawaii. Hawaii became a racist state against haoulis They hate tourists but they depend on them.i left the islands due to this.dont waste your money on traveling to Hawaii.the aloha spirit is long gone