Tourist Business In Hawaii Booms As Result Of Publicity
An influx of visitors to the Hawaiian islands during the past few years has revived many of the interesting traditions and practices of Old Hawaii.
This paradox was recently pointed out by Percy A. Swift, manager of the merchandise department of American Factors, Ltd., in a discussion of Hawaii’s tourist industry.
“An interesting sidelight of the travel business here has been the way it has encouraged Island customs and activities,” he said. “The nourishing influence of tourist interest has given added impetus to the lei tradition, for example; and it has revived native sports such as surfing and outrigger canoe riding, which were on the point of dying out 15 years ago.”
He pointed to the revival of canoe building at Kona and in Honolulu; and said visitor-interest in distinctive Hawaiian souvenirs had resulted in a lauhala weaving “boom” around Napoopoo in the heart of “Old Hawaii.” Many of the Hawaiians in the Kona section on the Big Island are finding full time employment turning out lauhala hats and mats and at the present time they don’t keep up with the demand.”
Swift, as a member of the Hawaii Tourist Bureau committee, has recently investigated the matter of tourist entertainment facilities; and he expressed the opinion that by building up the tourist trade the Territory will automatically develop important new facilities—especially those that are Hawaiian in character, thereby encouraging allied native handicrafts and customs.
“The camera era of tourism has intensified this salutary influence of travel in stressing the development of local color,” Swift declared. “Many globe-trotters today are camera fans and that means that, more than ever, these visitors are demanding authentic local color. This again works to our advantage as they take our lei sellers and surf-riders back home in their movie reels to help advertise the Islands.”
Swift predicted a record summer tourist season for Hawaii, and declared that the continuance of an aggressive travel advertising program will be the Territory’s best procedure for the development of new facilities and the encouragement of old traditions.
(Hoku o Hawaii, 4/22/1936, p. 1)