Impact of Tourism on Hawaii

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The Environmental Impact of Tourism on Hawaii and its Natives

By: Rylee Blair

As skiers, hikers, sightseers, beachgoers and travelers pack their bags and head out for their vacations, they probably never even consider that what they are about to embark upon happens to be the largest industry in the world. Millions of people travel domestically and internationally each year to experience places and things that are totally out of their ordinary lifestyle and to get their minds off the hustle bustle of everyday life. Because of Hawaii’s year-round tropical climates, cultural experiences and leisurely atmosphere, it is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and attracts over 9 million visitors each year. Marine and
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This kind of growth doesn’t happen without displacing land, people, animals, etc. Land based resources, people’s culture and historical symbols are often the victims of tourism development in Hawaii. Many of the major resorts have been built on culturally significant sites. Construction of tourist related businesses have played a huge part in the destruction of ancient Hawaiian burial grounds, archaeological historic sites and sacred places. In fact, on the island of Kauai, a well-known ancient Hawaiian burial ground was excavated to make room for a huge condominium resort project. Out of 22 acres of sacred burial grounds, only a one acre parcel was left, and human remains were displaced and moved to make room for the project. This was devastating to the native Hawaiians who had loved ones buried there for centuries, but seemed to be insignificant to the tourism industry that seemed only to be worried about their new project and making money. Hundreds of other cultural and historic sites have been bulldozed to make way for hotels and golf course developments without regard for the environmental effects of their actions. In addition to disrupting the environment with huge new buildings, many other sites such as ancient temples, house sites, fishing shrines, ceremonial platforms and agricultural have been turned into tourist attractions and have been misused, abused and disrespected by tourism. This is
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