Native Hawaiian Woman Urges Disrespectful Tourists To Stop Visiting Hawai’i

@hiililylani via TikTok

After a stressful day at work or school, it can be easy to dream of a vacation. Perhaps your ideal vacation is on a tropical island somewhere. You could visit Tahiti, or the Bahamas, but some Americans first think of Hawai’i when they think of an ideal island vacation.

Hawai’i has been a state since 1959. Before that it was a U.S. territory. Before that, it was an independent country. Hawai’i didn’t ask to become part of the United States. In fact, the country was opposed to it.

Many people think that they’re doing Hawai’i a favor by traveling there for a vacation since they assume the islands couldn’t survive without tourism. One TikToker named Lily Hi’ilani Okimura wants tourists to know that this is not the case.

Lily is a 24-year-old Native Hawaiian. She has made it her mission to educate through TikTok about issues that impact residents of pacific islands, especially her home, Hawai’i.

In one of Lily’s videos she uses an example of a couple from Louisiana who touched a monk seal while they were on their honeymoon in Kauai. The husband took a picture of his wife touching the endangered seal, and they ended up having to pay a $50,000 fine.

The couple claimed that they didn’t know about the law that you can’t touch a monk seal, but Lily explains that there are signs on the beaches stating these laws. In addition, she says tourists need to do their research to learn the laws before going on vacation. Lily believes that tourists who are going to disrespect the laws should “go back home.”

Watch one of Lily’s viral TikTok videos below.

@hiililylani Also, just don’t touch wild animals? Did you not take bio class 💆🏽‍♀️ #fyp #hawaii #hawaiian #kanakamaoli #hawaiianmonkseal #tourism #endangered ♬ original sound – Lily Hiʻilani Okimura

According to Lily, Native Hawaiians “don’t benefit from tourist money.” She says that Hawaiians who work in tourism are often “overworked and underpaid.” She adds that 51% of the homeless population in Hawai’i is made up of Native Hawaiians.

Lily doesn’t believe that it’s possible for tourists to visit Hawai’i without doing any harm; however, she does offer some advice for anyone who is determined to visit Hawai’i anyway. She suggests staying with family or friends who live in Hawai’i if at all possible. She recommends against staying at Airbnbs and hotels since most of them are not owned by Native Hawaiians. In addition, she explains that it’s important to respect the land and leave things the way you found them. For example, don’t litter, and don’t take rocks or sand from the beach.

Have you ever gone to Hawai’i on vacation? Do you think tourists should stop visiting Hawai’i?