I thought it would be fun to write a little article about the types of tourists you might see in Hawaii. This can definitely be applied to any place you go, but from my observations, travels, and just from being a tourist myself, I think there are certain types of tourists all over. Can you figure out what kind of tourist you are?
In Hawai, I am a local tourist. These are the kind of people who have lived in a certain area for a while, but they’ve never really had a chance to visit the museums, parks, exhibits, etc in their backyard, so to say. The funny thing about being a local tourist is that people know you’re a local, and they watch you as one. For example, my little brother and I went jumping off of South Point last December. We’d been there once before, but this time we wanted to get the full experience by jumping off. And we did! We jumped off South Point and all of the tourists watched in awe. Another example is when I was around 14 years old, my family visited Maui. We’re from the islands, but it was awesome to explore other parts we’d never tried before. We still ate and did things as locals, but we were still “tourists.” I do have to say that one perk of being a local tourist is that you usually can get kama’aina rates and deals.
These are the folks who visit the islands, but you can tell they know what they’re talking about. Sometimes, these tourists have a little more book-smart knowledge than the locals themselves. Whether it’s information on the volcano, the different legends and folklore, or just knowledge about the food, people, and culture, these tourists are open to learning, trying new things, and experiencing the islands first hand. They’ve done their research ahead of time, and now the information they’ve soaked in from online resources or books is a reality. I love knowledgeable tourists because they’re also very respectful to the land, the locals, and others. I’ve talked to a lot of tourists, and these are my favorite kind. They’re excited to be in Hawaii, but they’re also learning and taking in the full experience as much as they can.
I hate to stereotype, but these are the kind who ask questions like, “Do Hawaiians live in grass shacks?” or “Do all Hawaiians speak Hawaiian?” They’re the kind of tourists who prefer the stereotypical, idealized Hawaii as opposed to the authentic Hawaii. And that’s OK. Not everyone wants the authentic Hawaiian experience (which you can read about in my other article here). If they’re satisfied with visiting all the tourist attractions, that’s OK. It’s actually how Hawaii keeps its economy afloat, so I’m really not complaining.
Wow, these are the type who try sooooo hard to be like the locals. This could be a distant cousin from the mainland, a friend, or even a total stranger. Usually they’ll try to speak Pidgin English or dress, talk, or walk like a local but something in the alignment is off. Sometimes this borders on being rude because they infringe on personal, land, or cultural boundaries, and it’s unnatural for them to be behaving this way.
I almost don’t even want to talk about stupid tourists because it’s just that stupid. They usually have no consideration for the land, the people, the customs, etc. Sometimes tourists are stupid because they ignore or don’t recognize there are laws of the land—such as the time my little brother and I went to South Point and a rental car full of Asian tourists crossed the solid line (on a hill) to pass us in a 2-lane, forested area—it was like a car wreck begging to happen. Another example of stupid tourists is when they go off marked paths, wandering into dangerous places that sometimes can end in serious injuries or death (falling off waterfalls, falling into hidden lava tubes under the ground, etc). Or sometimes they just do things for attention, like knocking over sacred rocks or vandalizing to mark places they’ve been.
This was just a funny article to write, but in all seriousness, tourism in Hawaii is great. We need tourists to keep our economy afloat, and who doesn’t want to visit Hawaii? Just remember that wherever you travel to, take care of the land, the people, and appreciate it for what it is! It’s about the experiences you have while being there, not just being there.
As you read this article, did you figure out what kind of tourist you are? Comment below or share on Facebook!