Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Developing a Dream Destination

Developing a Dream Destination: Tourism and Tourism Policy Planning in Hawaii

Copyright Date: 2008
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Developing a Dream Destination
    Book Description:

    Developing a Dream Destination is an interpretive history of tourism and tourism policy development in Hawai‘i from the 1960s to the twenty-first century. Part 1 looks at the many changes in tourism since statehood (1959) and tourism’s imprint on Hawai‘i. Part 2 reviews the development of public policy toward tourism, beginning with a story of the planning process that started around 1970—a full decade before the first comprehensive State Tourism Plan was crafted and implemented. It also examines state government policies and actions taken relative to the taxation of tourism, tourism promotion, convention center development and financing, the environment, Honolulu County’s efforts to improve Waikiki, and how the Neighbor Islands have coped with explosive tourism growth. Along the way, author James Mak offers interpretations of what has worked, what has not, and why. He concludes with a chapter on the lessons learned while developing a dream destination over the past half century.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6218-3
    Subjects: Business, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Map of the Hawaiian Islands
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
  5. Chapter One Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Americans love rankings! There are “best” rankings for appliances, new and used cars, restaurants, hotels, colleges and universities, places to live and places to retire, the “best” (and “worst”) dressed woman (man), books, music and movies, and, to quote the King of Siam, “Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.” Cable television’s Travel Channel even has a top-ten ranking for the best restaurant bathrooms in the world.¹ Advocates of such rankings argue that they quantify the unquantifiable. They provide information to consumers on products and services that are difficult to compare before they are purchased. This would be particularly true of services—and tourism....

  6. Chapter Two Tourism in Hawaii: An Overview
    (pp. 13-45)

    Tourism, as it now exists in Hawaii, is essentially a post–World War II phenomenon. The great growth in numbers actually occurred after 1959. There was a visitor industry in Hawaii before 1959, of course, but the difference in degree is sufficiently great as to constitute a difference in kind.

    As early as 1830, there were several rooming houses and hotels in Honolulu, primarily serving sailors and a few visitors. By no stretch of the imagination could they have been classified as luxury resort establishments.¹ It was not until 1867 that one can say Hawaii really had a tourist trade....

  7. Chapter Three Genesis of State Policy on Tourism
    (pp. 46-79)

    Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the Hawaii State government’s stance toward tourism has been to encourage its growth. That stance has not changed. However, tourism has always been viewed in Hawaii as private business and allowed to operate largely by the rules of a market economy. In his recently published memoir, longtime Hawaii tourism executive Robert C. Allen recalled that “No other resort complex in the world ever came together under similar circumstances, created as it was by individuals of considerable skill who gathered together the elements of a sleepy exotic resort and created the booming Hawaii visitor...

  8. Chapter Four State Tax Policy on Tourism
    (pp. 80-103)

    There are over eighty-seven thousand subnational governments in the United States. Hawaii has only five: the State and the four counties. In Hawaii there are no governments with separate taxing powers below the county level. Honolulu is both a city and a county, and a single government—the City and County of Honolulu—serves both. The state has one of the most centralized fiscal systems among the fifty states, with the lion’s share of the responsibility for providing public services and taxation resting with the State government and not with the counties.¹ It has been suggested that this high degree...

  9. Chapter Five Tourism Promotion, the Hawaii Convention Center, and the Hawaii Tourism Authority
    (pp. 104-140)

    This chapter examines the promotion of tourism in Hawaii, the development of a convention center, and the role of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

    With few exceptions, governments all over the world use public funds to promote tourist travel to their destinations. In sharp contrast, the famous Florida orange juice television commercials are paid for by industry self-assessment of the state’s citrus growers and not by money from the State treasury. Using public money to pay for tourism promotion is not always popular among voters. In 1993, voters in Colorado closed the State Tourism Board by refusing to fund it. In...

  10. Chapter Six Protecting Hawaiiʹs Natural Environment
    (pp. 141-171)

    What attracts tourists to Hawaii, first and foremost, is its natural environment. Hawaii Tourism Authority’sHawaii Tourism Product Assessmentstudy (1999) noted that “Hawaii’s unspoiled natural beauty is the foundation of Hawaii’s tourism product.”¹ This awareness provides both the industry and residents an economic incentive to protect its natural assets. Long before statehood, Hawaii’s Territorial Legislature passed legislation (1927) to get rid of billboards. In 1957, the City and County of Honolulu passed the first sign ordinance restricting the size and placement of commercial signs.² The Outdoor Circle of Hawaii maintains a vigilant fight against efforts to reinstate billboards, aerial...

  11. Chapter Seven Improving Waikiki
    (pp. 172-197)

    Waikiki is a paradox. Visitors generally give Waikiki the lowest satisfaction ratings among Hawaii’s resort destinations, yet it remains the state’s most important visitor destination. For millions of visitors to Hawaii, Waikiki has been the window through which Hawaii is viewed. Until direct flights to the Neighbor Islands became possible (see chapter 8), Waikiki was the sole gateway to Hawaii. Waikiki accommodated 80 percent of the visitors to the state in 1960; this declined to 60 percent a decade later.¹ On Oahu, tourism was synonymous with Waikiki.² Waikiki has remained the flagship of Hawaii’s tourist industry, even as tourism has...

  12. Chapter Eight The Neighbor Islands
    (pp. 198-224)

    Tourist travel to the Neighbor Islands before the arrival of mass tourism used to comprise side trips from a primary destination base in Waikiki (Oahu). The Neighbor Islands were somewhat out of the way, as the only way to get there was via connecting interisland flights at Honolulu after a strenuous flight of at least five hours to Hawaii. There was also much less to do on these outer isles, as they were “more rural, less urbanized, and far less sophisticated” than Honolulu.¹ Life on these isles has always been lived at a much easier pace. Indeed, stressed out and...

  13. Chapter Nine Lessons from Hawaiiʹs Experience
    (pp. 225-246)

    Statehood and the coming of the jet plane opened up tremendous opportunities for the development of tourism in Hawaii in 1959.¹ Within a short period of time, Hawaii was transformed from a “sleepy exotic resort,” barely a speck in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, to become “a booming tourist Mecca.”² This transformation was not the result of some grandiose government plan. Nor was it the vision of one person. It happened because of the resourcefulness of many individuals.³

    To be sure, Hawaii held a number of early advantages over other places in developing a dream destination. At the...

  14. Index
    (pp. 247-256)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 257-260)