Hawaii without overtourism | The press
Since the recovery, Hawaii has done amazingly well, and regulars from the “Aloha State” will be returning to their favorite destination … with a few caveats.
The Hawaiian Islands, like all popular tourist destinations, have been hit hard by the pandemic. While more than 10 million visitors annually traveled to Hawaii for their vacations, that number dropped to about 6.6 million in 2021 when the borders reopened.
“We don’t want more tourists, we want better tourists,” said Noelani Schilling-Wheele, of the Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau, who was in Montreal to promote the destination during a Canadian mission this fall. 2022.
The pandemic will have given us the opportunity to correct the situation, revise our priorities and, if we may say so, organize ourselves better to suffer less from overtourism. Our places are mostly national parks and nature reserves, and the post-pandemic tourist will have to respect these sacred places.
Noelani Schilling-Wheele, of the Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau
In short, Hawaii of course wants to see its tourists again – the “Aloha Spirit” that stands for goodwill and hospitality – but, as they say, everything is in the way…
Say goodbye to spontaneity
It is true that the destination for Hawaii regulars became more and more saturated and its most popular places became more and more popular. The pandemic has prompted the introduction of new measures, including a new mandatory online reservation system. Originally designed to respect the limitations of physical distance, the system has remained. It is now the same for almost all attractions and all the so-called points of interest on the various islands.
It is now necessary and sometimes even mandatory to reserve your time and purchase tickets in advance for the vast majority of attractions offered in Hawaii. The experience for the seasoned tourist will of course be different. As in many other aspects of our lives since the pandemic, sometimes spontaneity has to be sacrificed.
However, the positive of this new way of visiting Hawaii is that there is no risk of being denied entry due to a lack of places; you don’t have to queue too long and it’s also much less crowded than before. Result: we enjoy it better and the experience is more pleasant.
That said, Hawaii is absolutely beautiful, and you don’t need to go to a so-called point of interest to appreciate all its beauty and richness. The beaches are public and access is free almost everywhere. The landscapes traced by volcanoes and the sea are still as beautiful. Finally, let’s remember that we choose Hawaii for its climate, its beaches, its volcanoes, its tropical forests, but also for its “Aloha Spirit”, which pushes us to appreciate the present moment and everything that surrounds us.
Four islands, four ways to experience Hawaii
The “destination” Hawaii consists of four main islands. There is O’ahu (Honolulu), the lively, the most urban, where we like to sunbathe on Waikiki beach, visit the historic site of Pearl Harbor and the North Shore, where the world surfing competitions are held. Maui, the lush, is more upscale with its luxury hotels, chic boutiques and great restaurants. Hawaii (Big Island) is the island of volcanoes, and the only one where there is a still active volcano. Kauai is the most bohemian of the four, perfect for the outdoors, a little hippie and still a little wild. A trip to Hawaii usually begins in Honolulu and continues to one or two islands, depending on the length of stay.
Three essential things
Climb Diamond Head
Online reservations are now required to reach the summit of this inactive volcano on the island of O’ahu that has become a signature feature of the Honolulu landscape. Tickets go on sale on the official website 30 days in advance at a price of US$5 per person.
Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
On the island of O’ahu, this beach formed in an ancient volcanic crater is one of the most beautiful snorkeling spots in Hawaii, but also the hardest reservation to get. Tickets go on sale 48 hours in advance and sell like hot cakes. It costs US$25 per person. Good to know: if you can’t get a ticket during your stay, the park accepts a limited number enter 6.45 the same day.
Reaching the summit of Haleakalā Volcano on the island of Maui. It used to be enough (!) to get up in the middle of the night to go to the top of this volcano at 10,000 feet above sea level to see the sun rise above the clouds. You must now reserve your access. Tickets are available 60 days in advance. The ticket is free, but admission to the park costs US$30 per person. vehicle. Good to know: since the pandemic, the park remains open until nightfall, which does not require a reservation. And the sunset is just as, if not more, spectacular!