The Homeless Impact Tourism

It is nice to see the leaders of the visitor industry finally admit that tourists are complaining about homeless people in parks, beaches and hotels. Even the mayor admits he has received letters about the homeless problem. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser published a brave article pointing out that the complaints range from homeless people sleeping on park benches and in hotel lobbies to trespassing at private functions and sneaking into buffet lines in hotels.

Until now, visitor industry officials in Honolulu have been very quiet. When you consider how powerful the visitor industry can be, it’s a little strange that they have chosen to sit on the sidelines and play their harps for the homeless. Government officials are stranded between appointed government agencies waiting for orders to do something and elected officials trying to get reelected at their expense.

Government’s plan seems to be based on our concept of “aloha nui” for the homeless, because they are, for whatever reason, down on their luck, mentally ill or drug addicts.

For these homeless people there is a multitude of programs, shelters to protect them from the elements and a very patient and generous public. I mean, how can you look down on the homeless? Only someone with a heart of stone could look down on the homeless.

Government officials are not going to solve the homeless problem because they don’t have the political will to make a difference.

But community leaders know what is going to happen if something is not done, because homelessness can deter our visitor industry from continuing to be our economic engine.