Friday, March 22nd 2019, 3:26 pm - Experts are urging for stritcter tourist managmenet practices.
Hawaii is reaching a "tipping point" of "overtourism", experts warn.
In a February paper published by the University of Hawaii, experts say a steadily-rising number of tourists is depleting the state of its natural resources, damaging the environment and having a negative impact on residents due to large crowds and litter.
Hawaii's average number of annual visitors is quickly approaching 10 million -- a number that 's expected to climb even further, if tourist management practices aren't implemented.
"The dramatic increase in visitors comes with a cost," an excerpt from the paper reads.
"More visitors require more services from state and county agencies and create more “wear and tear” on visitor sites and attractions. Congestion and inadequate management threaten the quality of the experience at sites popular with both visitors and residents"
BUT DOESN'T HAWAII WANT TOURISTS?
Tourism brings in millions of dollars in revenue in Hawaii and has created and sustained numerous jobs.
But the paper's authors say an abundance of tourists is creating "diminishing returns", because the average amount of money spent per visitor is decreasing.
" Since the turn of the century, and especially since the Great Recession, visitor counts have been rising while total spending has not," the paper says.
"This means Hawaii needs more visitors to yield the same economic benefit."
Source: University of Hawaii
“We’re not at a crisis point yet. We’re at a tipping point," Frank Haas, one of the study's authors, told WFAA.
Researchers are advocating for a long-term tourism management plan that will protect Hawaii's natural resources while suppoting economic growth.