There has been intense controversy in regards to Hawai’i and Charleston, South Carolina’s strong dependence on tourism as a means to help stimulate their economies. On an economic standpoint, there has been substantial support in regards to the benefits tourism has had in helping to sustain economic revenue in both areas (Blair, 2010; Frampton, 2010; Smith, 2010). Environmentalists, however, are becoming concerned about the posed environmental effects caused by the increase in tourism to Hawai‘i, while those of whom call Charleston home feel as if they are being plagued by an overrun of tourists to the area (Bly, 2010; Conrow, 21). In this proposed paper, I will explore the economic advantages and the environmental concerns associated with tourism in Hawai’i and Charleston, South Carolina.
First and foremost, let us begin our quest by exploring the economic benefits of tourism in both Hawai‘i and Charleston, South Carolina. There is no doubt that the tourism industry in Hawai’i does have a significant impact on the state’s economy, as it is the second largest revenue building industry with annual profits far surpassing amounts pouring in from health care expenses - currently only lagging behind in revenue by the State of Hawai’i’s number one economic contributor, military defense (Blair 2010). Dr. Leroy O. Laney, Ph.D., and Professor of Economics at Hawaii Pacific University reported that in the year 2008, the tourism industry pumped in a whopping $11.4 billion dollars into Hawai’i’s economy alone, accounting for approximately 17.9% of the state’s total Gross Domestic Product (16). Further analysis shows that the tourist industry also accounts for roughly one-third of the occupations in Hawai’i as well (Conrow 21).
There is also no question that the city of Charleston in the state of South Carolina experiences economic benefits from the effects of tourism, as revenue totals in the year 2008 showed that the tourism industry had brought in approximately $18.4 billion dollars in economic revenue (B. Smith 2010). Fast forward to 2010, the city began to experience a sudden influx of passengers aboard cruise ships (the mode of travel of which constitutes for the bulk of tourists whom arrive in Charleston), who are choosing to remain in the city for a few nights, thus contributing to an eight-percent hike in hotel room occupancy rates in the past two years (Frampton 2010). Based on these findings alone, it is rather obvious to see how much of a vital role the tourism industry plays in regards to helping the economies of the state of Hawai’i and Charleston, South Carolina stay afloat.
Nevertheless, it still seems as if economic statistics are not enough to pacify the stern voices of Hawaii’s environmental groups and the residents of Charleston, South Carolina. Environmentalists in Hawai’i are becoming concerned about the effects that heavy tourism may pose on the environment, while some residents of Charleston argue that tourists are infringing...