Native Hawaiian organisations ask politicians to halt tourism focus

 Tuesday, August 10, 2021 


Tens of thousands of visitors continue to fly into the Hawaiian islands each day as the state records its highest COVID-19 daily case counts since the pandemic began.

On Sunday, the state recorded its fourth day of case numbers above 600.Also on Sunday, a large group of mostly Native Hawaiians gathered at Laniakea, to educate visitors, and to tell state leaders they are prioritising tourism over island residents.

The gridlock at Laniakea has been an issue on Oahu’s North Shore for nearly two decades and there is still no fix.
In 2020, North Shore residents could drive freely between Waialua and Sunset without worrying about traffic, but the increase in tourism has put the issue in the spotlight once again and videos of tourists harassing turtles have surfaced.
Residents say officials aren’t doing anything to address the mounting tourism issues.

“Locals and kanaka maoli are being told to stop gathering, our keiki sports are cancelled, while luaus for hundreds of unmasked visitors are taking place every night, nothing is sacred with the tourist industry and Hawaii has become a playground to visitors,” said Ka Lahui Hawaii member HealaniSonoda-Pale.

“Education is not promoted at all, and it needs to be revisited on how to effectively educate the visitors as they come to visit us,” said North Shore Neighborhood Board vice-chair Racquel Achiu-Hill.

“Overtourism is a real thing, it is a very real thing, and we’re tired of being put second,” she continued.
North Shore residents plan their day around the turtle traffic while thousands of visitors visit the area daily. Some come in tour busses which are not supposed to stop at Laniakea.

“Have the tour guides educate them when they’re coming on the tour busses [to the North Shore], we see a lot of the tour busses come here, offload the people, and it’s clear the tourists don’t know, they go on the rocks, they fall, they also step on the rocks and kill the limu which is the honu’s food,” explained Da Hui O HeeNalu member Mahina Chillingworth.

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