Here’s some news I just got wind of. There were nearly 8.6 million visitors to the Hawaiian Islands in 2017 and 9.9 million in 2018. In 2020, even with the pandemic, there were still 2 million visitors.

Certainly there is no better place in the United States to see. I’m biased sure, but come on… Even if you prefer cold weather and would rather go see Alaska first, Hawaii must be high on your list. I remember talking my mother into coming to visit Oahu for the first time. She had so many questions, so many fears really. She wasn’t sure it was going to be like the USA enough for her to enjoy herself I think. Maybe you also had some of those fears? I think they are common.

I had just graduated high school when I was sent to Oahu in the Air Force, and to say I was “clueless” is a vast understatement. I didn’t know the first thing about the place. Where do you go for information when there is no internet? Back in 1984 I had that dilemma to deal with. I couldn’t find much. I found some old books on Hawaii at the library, and that was the extent of what I knew about living in Hawaii. Some called it ‘living in paradise’. Paradise? Was it that amazing?

It was. It is. Eight million visitors to these very remote islands in the middle of the Pacific found that out, some for the first time, some had been there again and again. These nearly 8 million visitors spent over 14 billion dollars. How in the world Hawaii is in such dire straights financially as a state, it’s almost unfathomable. What are they doing to screw up all the money coming in through tourism, rents, and spending by residents, and who is doing the screwing up?

Anyway, regardless… the majority of visitors were not Japanese, who accounted for only 1.5 million, but they were Americans living in the mainland. Sure the economy stinks for most Americans, but, some are still spending the cash needed to get out and see a place that makes them feel good… Hawaii is just such a place.

If you haven’t yet visited Hawaii, make it a goal for 2021 to be the year you do it.


Peter Kay