Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz / Professor of Anthropology
Department of Anthropology
California State University, Chico
Chico, California 95929-0400
530-898-6220 [Office]; 530-898-6192 [Dept.] FAX: 530-898-6824
e-mail: / home page:

21 September 1989 [1]

[This page printed from]

© [All Rights Reserved] This was a "handout" (accompanied by numerous slides) for the Anthropology Forum at California State University, Chico, September 21, 1989. No changes have been made, save for the addition of the WWW sites; this was placed on the WWW on April 29, 1999.


Although my own Pacific fieldwork (1970-1971) was based on research in the Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga, I have been following issues relating to Hawai'i and the "visitor industry" in the 50th state for almost two decades. Since my first visit to Hawai'i in 1970, en route to Tonga, I have made 16 additional trips specifically to Hawai'i, ranging in duration from 5 to 20 days.

The State of Hawai'i extends some 2,000 miles (northwest to southeast), cutting across the Tropic of Cander in the north Pacific Ocean. The five major islands (from largest to smallest) are Hawai'i, Mau'i, O'ahu, Kauai, and Molokai and I have been on the first four of these. I have yet to visit the other three major islands in the chain: Lana'i, Kahoolawe, and the privately-owned island of Ni'hau.

The capital, and major city of the state, is Honolulu, located approximately 21 degrees north of the Equator at 158 degrees West Longitude on the island of O'ahu. O'ahu, with but ~10.2% of the land area of the state has ~76.7% of the population of the state.

Square Miles

[The state of Hawai'i has an additional 60,619 members of the US armed forces; the state of Hawai'i also has an additional 66,708 military dependents; and for comparison purposes, the state of Connecticut is 5,018 square miles and the state of Rhode Island is 1,055 square miles.]

In 1986, the major resident ethnic groups in Hawai'i were: Caucasian (23%), Japanese (23%), Hawai'ian and part-Hawai'ian (20%), Filipino (11%), and Chinese (5%). The present Governor of Hawai'i is John Waihee.

An agreed upon date of 750A.D. is accepted for the human occupation of Hawai'i, but recent (and as yet unpublished) research indicates that human settlements were on the island of O'ahu as early as the third century B.C. Another researcher has utilized 300A.D. for human habitation of the islands (Kirch 1986). Captain James Cook (1728-1779) was the first recorded European explorer to contact the islands of Hawai'i in 1778. Hawai't has gone from being a Polynesian Kingdom to a republic then an American Territory and, finally, on March 12, 1959, was voted into statehood by the 86th Congress of the United States. As D. Oliver has pointed out, however, "From Captain Cook in 1778 to Admiral Yamamato in 1941, 'progress' in Hawaii consisted mainly in the substitution of one form of autocracy for another" (1989: 176) and "progress" is continuing to this day.

The following brief bibliography provides a few sources on Hawai'i; the information immediately below provdes some information pertinent to the "visitor industry" over the period 1959-1989.

Anon., 1988, 1987 Westbound Visitors to Hawaii By Island (Hawai'i Visitors Bureau)

Feher, J., 1969, Hawaii: A Pictorial History (Bernice P. Bishop Museum Press)

Kirch, P., 1986, Rethinking East Polynesian Prehistory. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 95, No.1: 9-40.

Mason, G. (Publisher), 1989, All About Business in Hawaii (17th edition)

Oliver, D., 1989, The Pacific Islands (3rd edition)

Stannard, C., 1989, Before the Horror: The Population of Hawai'i On The Eve of Western Contact

Stephan, J., 1984, Hawaii Under the Rising Sun: Japan's Plans For Conquest After Pearl Harbor.


~1987-1989 EVENTS

Federal spending #1; Visitor expenditures estimated at $109,000,000.

Federal spending #2 ($2,900,000,000 in 1987, up from $1,100,000,000 in 1978), Visitor expenditures in 1987 were $6,600,000,000; in 1988 visitor expenditures were $8,300,000,000 [#1].

In 1959 some 15% of the Hawai'ian workforce involved in agriculture.

In 1987 only 1.9% of the Hawai'ian workforce involved in agriculture.

In 1959 some 83.8% of all hotels in the state of Hawai'i located in the Waikiki area of O'ahu; there were a total of 6,825 units in the entire state.

In 1987, 45% of all hotels were off 'Oahu and on neighboring islands. In 1988 there were 70,272 units in the entire state. By 2008, an additional 34,286 rooms are planned for the state of Hawai'i.

In 1959 there were 3,680 individuals employed in hotels in Hawai'i.

In 1987, 41% (213,000 individuals) of the civilian workforce employed in the visitor industry; in 1988 there were 32,600 individuals employed in hotels. In 1979 there were 24,950 individuals employed in hotels.

In 1959 there were 243,216 tourists to Hawai'i (or some 27.74.hour).

In 1988 there were 6,134,580 tourists to Hawai'i (or some 699.84/hour).

NOTE: for 1929 it is reported that 22,120 visitors stayed in the islands of Hawai'i overnight or longer (or 2.52/hour), spending an estimated $10,300,000.

The year 2020 projections by the Hawai'i Visitors Bureau are 11,494,000 tourists to the islands of Hawai'i (or some 1,311/hour).


392 Yen = $1.00
361 Yen = $1.00
220 Yen = $1.00
146 Yen = $1.00

"Hawaii's largest foreign visitor market, Japan, produced over one million visitors [in 1987], for the first time ever. Japan now accounts for 20% of all Hawaii's visitors. (Anon., 1988, 1987 Westbound Visitors to Hawaii By Island (Hawai'i Visitors Bureau).

"Japanese visitors spend more in less time than westbound [North American and European] visitors: $366 per day vs. $102, in only a five-day stay vs. 10-day stays. In 1987 Japanese visitors spent close to $2.5 billion in Hawaii." (George Mason, 1989, All About Business in Hawaii, 17th edition, page 29).


The Top Attractions in Hawai'i (from the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner, September 10, 1989):

National Cemetary of the Pacific

5,343,973 Visitors

Arizona Memorial

1,845,557 Visitors

Jaggar Museum, Island of Hawai'i

1,373,000 Visitors

Kilauea Visitors Center, Island of Hawai'i

1,310,000 Visitors

Polynesian Cultural Center, Island of O'ahu

1,001,708 Visitors

Honolulu Zoo

758,485 Visitors

Just a note: In 1988 an estimated 17,200,000 people visited Las Vegas, up from 11,700,000 in 1979 (an increase of 47% in 10 years). Comparable data for Hawai'i indicates that an estimated 6,100,000 visitors went to Hawai'i in 1988 compared with 3,960,531 visitors in 1979 (an increase of 54% over the decade). (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and HVB data.)

# # #

Additional References added to this WWW version are:

1993a Peoples & Cultures of the Pacific: Okeania est omnis divisa in partes tres. (For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum, September 30).

1993b Oceania & The Pacific for Journalism 116: International Communications In The Global Arena. (For JOUR 116 (International Communications In The Global Arena) at CSU, Chico, March 25.

1991a Prelude to Pearl Harbor: Operation Hawai'i. (For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum, December 5.)

1991b Information Technology for the Pacific Basin. (For the Meeting of the 17th Pacific Science Congress, Honolulu, Hawai'i, May 27-June 2.)

1988 The Potential of the Pacific: Some Suggestions from California State University, Chico. (For the 1988 Annual Meeting of The Pacific Telecommunications Council, Honolulu, Hawai'i, February 15-19.)

1976 John Thomas, Tongans, and Tonga! The Tonga Chronicle (Nuku'alofa, Tonga), Vol. 13, No. 7: 7.

[1] © This was a "handout" (accompanied by numerous slides) for the Anthropology Forum at California State University, Chico, September 21, 1989. No changes have been made, save for the addition of the WWW sites. To return to the beginning of this paper, please click here.

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Copyright © 1999 Charles F. Urbanowicz

Anthropology Department, CSU, Chico
19 April 1999 by CFU