All Are Welcome Here

Some destinations understand the nature of hospitality, while others are severely lacking By: Kenneth Shapiro
Shapiro // © 2016 TravelAge West
Shapiro // © 2016 TravelAge West

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This issue’s cover story, “Hawaii for the Been-There-Done-Thats” (page 12), takes a look at some of the options for repeat visitors to the islands. Many veteran travelers may have already visited or experienced the iconic attractions in the destination — so in this story, we present ideas for taking a Hawaii vacation to the next level.

This is an important subject for travel agents because statistics show that nearly three in four visitors to the islands have been there before. It’s truly up to agents to present their clients with fresh ideas for travel in the destination.

There’s no doubt that the high return-visitor rate for Hawaii is due in part to the islands’ warm and welcoming culture — traits that are deeply rooted in Hawaiian tradition. Sadly, that is not the case everywhere. Recently, we have seen several examples in the U.S. of state politicians turning their own narrow-minded ideas into laws that run counter to the ideals of hospitality. Such actions seem destined to dissuade tourism and encourage visitors to seek out other locations. 

Whether or not you agree with the points of view advocated by these politicians, it seems clear that the practical effects of these laws oppose the goals of travel and tourism. After all, how can a culture of hospitality exist when entire groups of people are made to feel unwelcome? If you feel that these states are enacting discriminatory legislation, then it is perfectly reasonable to let your clients know that there are other, more open-minded destinations where they will be welcomed no matter what they believe.

As I’ve said before, at TravelAge West we feel that travel is the best way to bring people of different backgrounds together. We will never support fear-mongering or the exclusion of people based on their gender, race, nationality or sexual orientation, or their religious or personal beliefs. 

There are too many places — including Hawaii — that deserve to be recognized for their spirit of hospitality. Why would travelers waste their time and money on a destination that doesn’t seem to want the business?