Kaila Razonable, a 23-year-old hostess at a popular fish restaurant on another part of the island, is witnessing the continuous arrival of tourists who made reservations months ago. Compared to her previous jobs at other eateries, she earns better money here. It is a job that allows her to make a living, unlike many of her colleagues who live paycheck to paycheck. However, a night without tips can be painful for her and her coworkers.
Being of Native Hawaiian descent and growing up on the islands, this week has caused Ms. Razonable to rethink her long-term career in the hospitality industry. While she enjoys and appreciates her job, she has become frustrated with the behavior of certain tourists, especially in a time when so many locals are suffering.
She expressed her frustration, stating, “There’s literally homes being burned to the foundation, that level, and you’re complaining that we can’t get you seated early. We prioritize tourism over locals way too much.”
Native Hawaiians, like Indigenous communities across the country, have a profound connection with their land and the natural world. Ms. Razonable believes that the fires are a clear indication that society is not listening to the land or heeding the signs, leading to disastrous consequences.
Despite the challenges, Ms. Razonable remains hopeful that Hawaii will find a more sustainable balance between managing tourism and protecting local communities. She hopes that tourists can show more respect for Hawaiian culture and start viewing locals as people rather than just servants.
Further emphasizing the impact of tourism in Hawaii, Ms. Engledow, who recently moved to Oregon after living in Hawaii for 50 years, shares her observation. She mentions that there used to be a saying that when people come to Maui, it changes them. However, now people arrive with so much money that they try to change the very essence of Maui.
In conclusion, Kaila Razonable’s experience as a hostess in a fish restaurant highlights the challenges faced by locals due to the prioritization of tourism. The fires in the area serve as a wake-up call to the negative consequences of not listening to the land. However, there is hope for a more sustainable balance between tourism and the well-being of local communities. It is crucial for tourists to respect and appreciate Hawaiian culture instead of treating locals as mere servants. The impact of tourism requires careful management and consideration to ensure the preservation of the unique Hawaiian way of life.