Letters for Friday, July 9, 2021

So much grumbling

What is it? Do we want the tourists to come or not? If we do, why are we grumbling about? And why are they stranded without any means or transportation, like car rentals, taxis or whatevers?

And, really, do we need more cars for the tourists to add to our terrible traffic jams that is and cannot seem to be resolved? This is an issue we are facing now, cars and traffic.

We grumble when we don’t have them, and yet, when we do, we still grumble. This is probably just human nature to grumble over just everything, We even send our high politicians to travel all over to promote tourism. Are we forgetting that this is our bread and butter?

So what? Do we or don’t we? Make up our minds.

One thing that we need from those tourists is the respect we deserve. Don’t come here and take advantage of our aloha spirit when you are nasty and rude. No, you’re not? Well, I have come across a lot of people who were. I am a driver/tour guide, and I know.

Anyway, what do we want? Tourists or not?

Ray Domingo, Lihu‘e

No hotel on Coco Palms site

I am completely in disbelief that there is even a possibility that the huge initial mistake of building the Coco Palms hotel in that location, whether it was done intentionally for profit or through ignorance and unconsciousness, is being considered to be done again! Was nothing learned? The Wailuanui ahupuaʻa has been so wrongly mismanaged over the last century.

Many thanks to the group of conscious, respectful, concerned citizens that seek pono solutions to this extremely-significant cultural and historical Hawaiian land. We can’t go back and right the past, but we can move forward building a future that honors the Hawaiian people and history. We can preserve, restore and build a new present that meets the needs of the community and future for the keiki of Hawaiʻi including education, sustainability, the arts, health and much more.

The way of the future is not duplicating the past. We need a new paradigm. Donʻt restore the recent past. Expand your vision. Restore the ʻaina as it was and is meant to be. Doing the right thing will benefit all.

We have enough hotels, and even if we didn’t, that property must be preserved for the present and future.

Noreen Dougherty, Kapa‘a

Free testing the key to managing spread

Another eight cases today — mostly community spread.

And yet I ask myself if any of the thousands of tourists currently pouring into Kaua‘i have availed themselves of the free testing available at the War Memorial Convention Hall.

As the mainland numbers continue to rise, and as we transition into accepting vaccination certificates, I am fearful that our numbers will rise as well. Many tourists refuse to wear masks. Beaches are crowded. We are now in Tier 5, so restaurants will be crowded as well. (We experienced a restaurant last week that was obviously operating at 100% despite the fact that we were still under the Tier 4 50% law.)

The CDC vaccination cards would be ridiculously easy to fake, yet they are being accepted as proof.

I fully understand our current need for tourism (although perhaps not quite so much of it…), but I am also aware that, despite being vaccinated, I can still possibly contract COVID.

Are tourists being made aware of the free testing? Signs or handouts at the airport and at lodging could apprise them of this.

Please, for the sake of all of us here on this tiny island, publicize the free testing and strongly request that all visitors take advantage of it.

Donna Gould Carsten, Kapa‘a

  1. GarlicFrenchFries July 9, 2021 12:20 am Reply

    Lots of people beginning to pack to restaurants. 75% occupancy now. Which is good. Face mask must be used yet. It’s the law. Are people afraid of the delta variant? Yes. I think so. That is why they are unsure yet of what to do. Taking a vaccine. I can understand why. You need to get the virus first.

    I think it’s going to last until UH football team dies in a airplane crash. That bad. Really scary stuff.

  2. Mark July 9, 2021 12:25 am Reply

    Answer: He’ll no you don’t want tourists, but you do want our bread. Next question?

  3. notblackorwhite... July 9, 2021 4:20 am Reply

    Ray Domingo: It’s not either/or, black or white. An economy, especially on an island 2500 miles from most anywhere, to provide for the people who live permanently on it, requires diversification. There is no shortage of ideas from informed citizens and experts as to how to diversify and yet political, economic and even cultural inertia makes change a multifaceted project, and difficult, but it’s obvious it needs to occur.

    As far as the ‘aloha spirit’ goes, that’s really complicated. Just read the different characterizations of ‘aloha’ in an English/Hawaiian dictionary and then filter that through the life and soul of a human being. You can’t just expect people who may have read about ‘aloha’ in a travel book or on a brochure to manifest it after flying for 6-10 hours to get here with jet lag and a mainland lifestyle to just snap their fingers and live it once the plane sets down. Again, it’s complicated… It ain’t, nor will it ever be, either/or.

  4. Paulo July 9, 2021 9:27 am Reply

    Ray Domingo: “Anyway, what do we want? Tourists or not?”

    Is it all or nothing? If that’s the case then the answer is NOT. Of course that won’t work so at least do not allow the Coco Palms to be rebuilt further driving us all coconuts with even more gridlock, more crowds everywhere we go and ruining our natural ambiance and hard hitting our ecosystems for profits. The line needs to be drawn and should have been years ago.

    1. manawai July 9, 2021 4:18 pm Reply

      “There is no shortage of ideas from informed citizens and experts as to how to diversify and yet political, economic and even cultural inertia makes change a multifaceted project, and difficult, but it’s obvious it needs to occur.”

      True, lots of ideas around. But few have been economically viable. The people/companies who have the capital to make things happen, need to see at least a decent return on their investment. They ain’t crazy! It’s only the government and non-profits that take money from one person, “invest” (give) it in another and not expect anything back at all or if they do, be so careless at to loose it with shoddy judgement or management.

  5. Doug July 9, 2021 9:40 am Reply

    We want CONTROLLED tourism Ray, and the tourists we had before the pandemic, the ones who actually spent money here and respected the land and our wildlife. This is too small and rural an island to go back to the numbers of tourists we had before. Do you really like missing appointments and sitting in traffic for hours? Overwhelming numbers of tourists are turning Kauai into the mainland, should we build a freeway like Oahu and pave over the island? Several articles point out that only 19.6% of locals aged 16 and over work in the hospitality industry, and that number is probably less now that many left during the pandemic or retrained for jobs outside the industry as the hospitality industry is now having trouble filling jobs. Bottom line is that none of the islands can sustain the current numbers of tourists, and the international tourists like the Canadians and Japanese have not even hit yet!

  6. GarlicFrenchFries July 9, 2021 4:17 pm Reply

    How much of our economy is sustained by tourism? Percent wise. I would know. But in terms of GDP? 75.86 billion is state GDP in 2020. Which is not too much. Can anyone figure how important is tourism? Then treat it that way. I think they’ll say it is important. 60% important. 40% goes to other stuffs.

  7. manawai July 9, 2021 4:29 pm Reply

    The current idea of our government on tourism management is to increase the cost of a Hawaii vacation through taxes and fees, etc. up to the point where we get fewer tourists who can afford to come here. So we end up getting a higher income visitor and forget about the common folk who will no longer be able to afford it here. The wealthy tourists (many of who buy homes here and help increase the price of housing when insufficient new housing is being built) love this idea; less riff-raff to mix with. Merchants will cater to them with higher-priced merchandise and services. It has its advantages albeit not very “progressive”.

  8. Reality Bites July 10, 2021 5:15 am Reply

    Good God, here we go again. FOR ALL VISITORS AND TOURISTS, REMEMBER, when you get off the plane to bow to all residents of Kauai and the 5% of Native Hawaiians that inhabit the islands. YOU MUST RESPECT!!! the local community by pulling to the side of the road when any local or resident car approaches your overpriced rental car. Remember, NEVER look at any local or resident in the eye, as you are deemed not worthy.

    RESPECT…..the most overused word on the islands by residents and locals. SMH.

    1. Kaaona Kipuka July 11, 2021 11:12 am Reply

      Feel free to leave at anytime… SMH

  9. nobody July 10, 2021 7:42 am Reply

    It’s ironic that the tourists that “forgot to go home” now don’t want tourism. It’s nice to be rich. Like it or not, know it or not, Kauai’s new growing industry is catering to these new wealthy residents. Mow their lawns, cook their food, clean their houses. They pay well if you know how to behave. That’s where we’re headed. Is this where we want to go? Looks like there isn’t a choice.

    1. Loladog July 10, 2021 11:49 pm Reply

      Or, you could get an education for the new growing Kauai industries… it’s certainly a choice. If you’re learnable.

  10. Jjjames July 10, 2021 10:10 am Reply

    “OUR bread and butter”??!!
    And who exactly is “Our”???
    The big corporations from the mainland or from other countries that own the hotels? Or the wealthy individuals that own most of the vacation rentals? Or are you talking about the many laborers that do all the hard work in the hotels and vacation rentals and all the other establishments that cater to the tourist ? Most of which are “imported” laborers who are the only ones that will take the low paying jobs that are offered. They come to work in “the land of opportunity” even tho they know that their income will never be enough to enable them to buy or even rent their own home. Not at today’s prices.
    Face it! Todays level of Tourism has outgrown Hawaii. The INCONVENIENCES that it creates for the residents that live here vastly outweigh the benefits that it provides.

  11. Jjjames July 10, 2021 10:18 am Reply

    Noreen, you failed to mention the traffic (more) that a hotel will create there. But… don’t worry. The state will take care of that issue. They’ll just build more round-about.

  12. Kaaona Kipuka July 10, 2021 7:37 pm Reply

    I don’t want anymore letters of absolute gibberish…

  13. kauaidoug July 11, 2021 7:16 am Reply

    As we learn how to take care of our own here on Kaua’i the rest will follow. Make the county
    bus for example work for the locals, especially working locals, then tourists could hop on when cars are less available. Just one example. The last thing WE need is another hotel at a very busy intersection in an already overwhelmed traffic corridor.

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