The launch of Southwest Airlines service to Hawaii, which started earlier this month with Oakland-Honolulu flights and is expanding over the weeks ahead, has generated excitement among travelers and travel advisors alike. The so-called "Southwest Effect" is expected to bring more competitive airfares, which can be exorbitant between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii during high-demand periods. Also highly anticipated is Southwest's upcoming service on inter-island routes, currently the sole domain of Hawaiian Airlines, which often offers fares equal to those from the mainland.
However, there could be a downside. While it may get cheaper to fly to Hawaii, the cost of staying there is going in the opposite direction. What impact will rising demand have on a hotel scene that already boasts some of the nation's highest occupancies and average daily rates? Could Hawaii, which is enjoying increased business from Asia as well as North America, become the next hotbed of overtourism?
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