Tourist Spot

How to be a respectful tourist in Hawaii, according to a local

Before your trip, spend time researching Hawaii — and not just the best beaches. Learn about Hawaiian culture, history and values.

There’s more to Hawaiian culture than beaches and hula dancing.

The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua


When planning a trip, in addition to planning your itinerary, it is important to know your destination beyond the main things to do.

If so, take the time to learn about Hawaiian culture and history, including its values, and put those learnings into practice when you’re here. I don’t expect you to learn everything, but there are a few key things to understand to ensure you see the state through an accurate lens.

“Many Native Hawaiians feel that tourism has failed to live up to its promise, and there are certainly elements of certain activities, attractions, and marketing campaigns that present a distorted or misinformed image of Hawaiian culture,” Malia said. Sanders, executive director of the Native Hawaiian. Hotel association.

To me, these are tourists who come to Hawaii thinking the island is just hula dancers in grass skirts and coconut bras.

“If you visit, know that there are expectations when you’re here,” she said. “Know that you have kuleana, which means a responsibility, a duty and a privilege to learn, aloha and mālama, take care of and respect our home.”

For example, you probably already know that aloha is a common greeting. But it means so much more; it is a philosophy of welcome and kindness towards others without expecting anything in return. As a visitor, you must understand aloha and show it to others.

Likewise, native Hawaiians have lived in harmony with nature for many years, and respect for the land, or aina, and the ocean is expected of all. So don’t litter or take parts of the island, like rocks, home.

A great place to start to learn more about Hawaiian culture is the Go Hawaii website, where you can learn common Hawaiian phrases, the history and stories of goddesses like Pele, and how Hawaii came into existence.

When friends visit me for the first time, I like to recommend that they watch chef and television personality Eddie Huang’s episode “Huang’s World” in Hawaii, which explores modern Hawaiian identity through the eyes of the local population, such as farmers and restaurateurs.

I also ask my friends to check out Honolulu Civil Beat, a local journalism nonprofit, for some of the issues Hawaii is currently facing, such as a housing crisis. These resources help break the misconception that Hawaii is just an idyllic paradise.