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Thursday, July 25, 2024

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Compass Points 4.26.2006

By Al Campbell

Compass 4.26.06 al
This is a test Headline
“Tourists suck up resources, jam roads and crowd beaches. They bring money and jobs, but mostly the low paying, dead-end variety.
 “That negative view of the state’s No. 1 industry appears to be growing among … residents.”
 Bet many readers thought that was a Spout Off griping, once again, about the hand that feeds Cape May County, like it or not.
 It wasn’t a Spout Off at all. Instead, it came from the April 11 Honolulu Advertiser in a story by Lynda Arakawa and Dan Nakaso, Advertiser staff writers.
 After reading that story, I sent an e-mail to Arakawa and told her it echoed what many residents of this county continuously complain about hordes of folks who visit from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
 Subject of their story was a survey commissioned by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
 Most respondents believe that their island “is being run for tourists at the expense of locals.”
 Do I hear a loud “Yeah, that’s the way I feel,” from Swainton and Villas, Cape May and North Wildwood?
 One respondent quoted in the Advertiser story declared, “We need to take care of local needs first.”
 While we may be about 6,000 miles away, the problems seem the same. Paradise to some, just a job to the next person.
 Grudgingly, 71 percent of residents felt that, bad things aside, tourism brought more benefits than problems.
 “We need tourism, guaranteed,” said Maka Cleaver, a 38-year-old prep-cook at the Waikiki Outback Steakhouse. “Without them, we don’t have any jobs. There’s nothing here,” their story stated.
 The story continued that, many locals were concerned about life quality issues. Many felt the tourism jobs left little room for career growth and the hours were miserable.
 As in Cape May County, many in Hawaii believe precious land is being swept away by development, while local government looks the other way and forgets things like potholes in roads and long traffic lines.
 Residents in the Aloha State are feeling the pinch of high housing costs, as are the people of this county. They feel tourism is only deepening the housing crisis.
 Was that another “Amen!” I heard?
 “We know that our economy depends on the visitor, but we know that our residents need to come first,” stated Marsha Wienert Hawaii tourism liaison.
 In less than a month, this county’s roads will be lined again with tourists, if they do not mind the high cost of gas to get here.
 In some places, they will find a warm welcome. In others, they will be treated like lepers, or as if they had to visit this county. That attitude by some callous locals is not only poor diplomacy or just rude, it could mean that one family will never return.
 “Good,” some might say. “We never asked them to come in the first place.”
 “We can’t let that happen,” say others. They could be owners or those who realize that paychecks don’t magically fall from the sky.
 Tourism is the thing that fuels Cape May County’s economy.
 Normally, the comment would be, “If you don’t like it here, move.”
 As you’ve seen by reading this column, if you move across the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find that the only things that changed were the temperature and names.
 Everything else will remain the same.
 What to do? Adapt. Adjust. Enjoy. It’s as close to paradise as we get on this side of heaven.

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