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December 2019 News Tour Operator News Tourism Industry Travel Agent Travel News

What’s New in Hawaii for Travelers?

Looking for something new in Hawaii?

Here are five things to check out on your next trip.

Stargazing Tours Are Up and Running on Mauna Kea

The Milky Way brightens up the night sky over Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
PHOTO: The Milky Way brightens up the night sky over Mauna Kea in Hawaii. (photo courtesy of RugliG/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Stargazing tours are back in business on Mauna Kea as the ongoing Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) protests have reached a ceasefire.

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Though it may not last – the truce is only good until March – it marks a significant win for astronomy lovers. Private tour companies such as Hawaii Forest & Trail are now back to running their nightly stargazing tours, and the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy at the Visitor Center will resume hosting its free stargazing sessions.

New “Decolonial Guide” to Hawaii

Most people think of Hawaii through the lens of sensationalized marketing – hula girls, luaus, sun, surf, and sea. While Hawaii is indeed beautiful, a new guidebook, Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Hawaii, aims to put travelers more in touch with the true Native Hawaiian culture.

Artists, activists, and scholars have joined forces to “redirect readers from the fantasy of Hawaii as a tropical paradise and tourist destination toward a multilayered and holistic engagement with Hawaii’s culture and complex history.” The book includes essays, stories, artworks, maps, and tour itineraries that “will forever change how readers think about and move throughout Hawaii.”

Whale Watching Helicopter Tours

Blue Hawaiian has launched two new tours – one on Maui and one on Big Island – that aims to track down whales from above. The tours hover 1,000 feet above the water and offer a different perspective on the seasonal whale population, with the chance to see the pods from above.

It’s a cool opportunity because of that new vantage point, and the chopper ride is a selling point in itself for the aerial views of Hawaii. Also, no boat means no seasickness.

A tropical sunset in Hawaii
PHOTO: A tropical sunset in Hawaii. (photo via leekris/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Southwest Still Expanding its Flights

On January 19th, Southwest flew its first flight to Hilo from Honolulu. It also began its routes from San Jose and Oakland to Lihue and Kona. Be sure to price check Southwest with Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele, and Makani Kai for the best prices.

Airbnbs are Under Strict(er) Regulations

If you’ve been looking for a place to stay on Oahu and noticed something different, you’re not crazy. A law was passed last year that will restrict the number and locations of Airbnbs on Oahu, and the effects of that new bill are sure to be felt this year. While this may be frustrating for visitors, know that the law is aimed at improving the quality of life for locals, who have seen their communities become broken with vacation rentals.