Senior Theses

Publication Date

Spring 6-13-2022

Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)


Sociology and Anthropology

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Robert Gardner and Dr. Amy Orr

Subject Categories

Anthropology | Sociology


In this thesis, I argue that Hawai’i Tourism is dominated by idealized representations of paradise that are portrayed in hotels and resort advertising, selling an “authentic Hawaiian experience” that ignores significant parts of Hawaiian culture and the oppression of Native Hawaiians and local residents. The promotion of these exotified themes and images are seemingly used as a marketing scheme to attract consumers to view Hawai’i as merely a “tropical paradise” further adhering to individuals’ “escapist fantasy.” In delivering on this experience, the tourist industry reinforces and reifies the stereotypical images that are portrayed in the media. The systematic promotion of Hawaiʻi as an escapist paradise leads to certain aspects of Hawai’i and Hawaiian culture being removed from the picture that tourists see, both before, during, and after their visit. This study aims to acknowledge the usage of popularized images of Hawai’i as a paradise and how these symbols and images convey an incomplete and romanticized representation of Hawai’i.