Research Projects 2020-2022

A comprehensive approach to value Waikīkī Beach

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Nori Tarui
Co-INVESTIGATORS: Takahiro Tsuge
Graduate Fellow: Marcus Peng

A view of one part of Wakiki Beach with a walkway, beach, swimmers, buildings, and Diamond Head all in view.
Waikīkī Beach and surroundings are an economic driver for Hawaiʻi, attracting millions of tourists every year to enjoy its blue waters and white sands.

How much would we lose with further Waikīkī Beach erosion? Though the value is likely substantial, no study has a holistic estimate of various types of values that the beach provides (e.g., visitors’ benefits from sunbathing, swimming, surfing, staying in a hotel room with an ocean view). Yet estimating the value is necessary for identifying the best beach management strategy by considering the cost and the benefit of alternative beach nourishment options. This project conducts surveys of tourists, Hawaiʻi residents, and other U.S. residents to estimate the benefits that Waikīkī Beach provides to the local economy and beyond. It will also provide a concrete estimate on the benefits and costs of alternative beach improvement investment options. The output of this project will benefit the local stakeholders and policy makers because the estimates are crucial for (i) justifying the scale of investment necessary for maintaining or improving Waikīkī Beach; and (ii) judging what beach improvement strategies are desired.