About Us and Traveling Ethically To Hawaii
Is traveling to Hawaii disrespectful?
You've heard locals asking for a full halt on tourism. Many people feel bad, unsafe, or disrespectful choosing to travel.
Here is my take as a Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian), born and raised in Hawai'i and close to my 'olelo (language), culture, 'aina (land), and people......
I believe that tourism itself, is not bad. I believe as natives, we are the stewards and hosts of this land, and have an obligation to teach others it's history, beauty, knowledge, and mana (power/soul). The issue lies in disrespect.
When travelers disturb our native creatures, stomp on sacred burial grounds, throw rubbish on the 'aina (land), disrespect historical sites and statues, mock our language, talk down to our people, support only large non-local corporations while visiting, and refuse to learn about Hawaii's rich history and culture, that is where the problem starts.
If travelers knew how to visit Hawaii in a sustainable, respectful, and ethical way, tourism would help the native people, the land, and it's resources instead of hurt them. If every visitor stayed at a locally owned resort or home, used a rental car owned by a local, ate from locally owned restaurants, shopped at small hawaii businesses, and enjoyed activities ran by local entreprenuers, the majority of your dollars would stay here in the islands and work to benefit the Hawaiian people and our 'aina (land).
Realistically, tourism will not completely stop in Hawaii. So instead, as the steward of my land, and as someone who wants to build a better Hawaii for my keiki, I have created this site to help those who wish to travel to Hawaii, to do so ethically, respectfully, and sustainably, so that our land and people thrive BECAUSE you came, not in spite of it.
- Wailele Wheeler (Founder of Visit Hawaii Ethically)