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Visitor Industry

When Hawaiʻi became a U. S. territory (June 14, 1900,) it drew adventuresome cruise ship travelers in a tourism boom. Hotels blossomed, including Waikiki’s oldest surviving hotel, the Moana Hotel, in 1901. 

Then, according to published accounts, the tourists stopped coming – possibly because Honolulu was swept by bubonic plague in 1899 and 1900. There were reports that Los Angeles was anticipating a bumper crop of tourists for the winter of 1902. Competition had already begun. Over the decades, promotional efforts grew and so did the number of tourists.

In 1941, a record year, in which 31,846 visitors arrived, World War II brought an abrupt end to tourism in Hawaiʻi. Three years later, the Chamber of Commerce began bringing it back to life with a Hawaiʻi Travel Bureau (HVB,) which concerned itself with leaving a friendly Territorial impression on the servicemen who were soon to go home. 

An important priority was to get the ocean liner Lurline back in the passenger business after her wartime duty. It cost Matson $19 million, but in the spring of 1948, with an exuberant welcome by some 150,000 people and an 80 vessel escort arranged by the HVB, she steamed into Honolulu Harbor to reclaim her title as “glamour girl of the Pacific.” 

In 1948, American President Lines resumed plying the Pacific and scheduled air service was inaugurated to Hawaiʻi. 

1959 brought two significant actions that shaped the present day make-up of Hawai‘i, Statehood and jet-liner service between the mainland United States and Honolulu (Pan American Airways Boeing 707.) These two events helped guide and expand the fledgling visitor industry in the state into the number one industry that it is today.

Tourism exploded. Waikiki began to build up (and up). Sheer numbers eroded some of the personal touch like a lei greeting for every arriving visitor.

Steadily during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s the millions of tourists added up, and the HVB and Hawai‘i learned to cope with the problems of success. The yearly tourism total reached nearly seven million people in 1990.

Tourism is the activity most responsible for Hawaiʻi’s current economic growth and standard of living. Although many emerging industries – such as technology, film, health & wellness, professional services, specialty products and others – show great promise for the future, economy and standard of living will probably depend on the activity generated by visitor activity for years to come.

At the same time, the visitor industry has major impacts on almost every aspect of Hawaiʻi’s economy, physical infrastructure, natural resources and even social and cultural lives.

Kōloa- Poʻipū host an organized, supportive Poʻipū Beach Resort Association that organizes and supports destination marketing and promotion of visitor accommodations/activities on behalf of its membership. Poʻipū Beach Resort Association serves as a central resource center for Kaua‘i’s Poʻipū Beach area, also known as Kaua‘i’s sunny south shore.

Likewise, the statewide Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) serves as a critical bridge linking government and private sectors, the visitor industry, visitors and island communities, and aims to contribute successfully to a good quality of life for residents through tourism.

Tourism is the most impactful and immediate way to fix Hawai‘i’s struggling economy. In this rapidly changing market, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) is making adjustments to the way to conduct business, to deal with both the short-term current crisis facing Hawai‘i’s tourism industry and the longer-term challenge of achieving a healthy and sustainable industry that provides maximum benefits to Hawai‘i’s community.

Over the past years, Poʻipū Beach’s popularity has grown immensely with visitors and residents alike and several new development projects are under way to meet the growing population and visitor demand. These new developments will enhance the beauty and charm of this coastal town by adding to the already wonderful choices of accommodations, dining, shopping and activities.

Additionally, there are plans for walking and biking paths, a promenade and shuttle service between Kōloa Town and Poʻipū Beach.