What Hawaii and France Have in Common

hawaiiHawaii and France are two places that are besieged by tourists, even in off season, and even during times of economic bust.  So far this year, the Hawaiian islands have received nearly four million vacationers — about four times their total population.  In France, the local-tourist ratio is even more pronounced. Paris alone has had 15.9 million visitors this year; this for a city of just two million people. But mass tourism is not the thing I like about these two places; it’s the local reaction to mass tourism that I admire. mont st michelNot the reaction of the politicians and developers and tour operators, who court as many visitors as they can, no matter the cost to the local ecology or quality of life.  I’m talking about the way ordinary Hawaiian and French citizens react to the tourist hordes: they ignore them, and I like that.

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