Japanese tsunami debris and the threat to sustainable tourism in the Hawaiian Islands

Zahed Ghaderi*, Joan C. Henderson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This paper discusses the possible effects of the debris resulting from the tsunami following the earthquake which struck Japan in March 2011 with particular reference to sustainable tourism in the Hawaiian Islands. Attention is also given to the more immediate consequences of the disaster for the arrival of Japanese tourists in Hawaii and marketing efforts to contain the initial fall in demand. Drawing on published research by scientists and media reporting, the paper argues that there could be significant negative environmental impacts if the projected amounts of debris reach Hawaiian shores. Natural resources such as coral reefs, beaches and other sensitive ecological sites as well as marine flora and fauna are all at risk. Tsunami debris is expected to remain in the ocean until at least 2016, posing challenges for the sustainability of tourism in the destinations where it is found offshore or deposited on beaches. It is therefore essential for the public and private sectors of the tourism industry to prepare strategies to assist in managing the potential difficulties which lie ahead.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-105
Number of pages8
JournalTourism Management Perspectives
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Destination marketing
  • Hawaiian Islands
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Tsunami debris

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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