There has been a lot of action in Kona as of late it seems to me. As the cruise ships process on their route from north to south it has really spiked the activity for a lot of local eateries and tourist destinations. I work a few evenings a week at Huggo’s, and have noticed the uptick in patrons coming to visit us. It makes for the 5 hour shift to just fly right on by. In addition to the influx of cruise ships, there are also a lot of cultural and cross cultural events going on in Kona.
If you were not aware, the women’s Ironman World Championships was hosted on our beautiful island two weeks ago. I also must say that I personally feel that this year was one of the best all around in regards to my enjoyment of the event. I remember last year. Having both the men and women's championships in town seemed almost unbearable at times with the traffic, crowds, and lines for everything and everywhere. There seemed to be a massive overpopulation in town, and potentially I think it hurt a lot of the local businesses more than it helped.
After talking to some business owners locally they also felt that this year was much more manageable for them as well. For example one cafe owner had to close his store front last year because his space quite literally was not large enough to cater to the masses that came in for the Ironman. He then restricted his menu down to about 3 items and set up a tent in his outdoor seating area. Not necessarily that this hurt his business by gross numbers comparison, but rather there is quite an extreme opportunity cost. For example, if all he could serve in his roadside set up was hamburgers that he net profited $2 on. Then imagine what he could have done with the same number of customers who would order the ever so popular panini that he can net profit about $5 on. Also, with just half the athletes competing this year, I thought that Kona was able to show her beautiful self off more in the massive influx of visitors from all over the world.
There are also a couple of other events coming up. The biggest of these being the Kona Coffee Culture Festival that kicks off at the beginning of November. That is a week that I would encourage you to go and experience, even if it is just for a cup of coffee and a look around. I was negligent to the intensity of the world of coffee until I experienced this festival last year. There are folks who like coffee for the gastrointestinal benefits and caffeine contents (this is me), and then there are people who LOVE coffee and everything about it (this is the people who fly in for this festival). They seemingly eat, sleep, and breathe coffee (which sounds like a bit of a health hazard if you ask me, but who am I to judge.) So head on out to see what the Kona Coffee Festival is all about. You may be surprised by the rich history that Coffee has on this rock in the middle of the Pacific that so many of us call home.
With these international gatherings, another important side note to remember is that people come from all over the world for these events. It is not always the case that they have the same social practices or regularities that we are accustomed to. A great example was from Ironman. In many European countries it is custom that bicycles share the same road space with cars, they do not have bike lanes at times. So you may have noticed a more significant amount of bikes on the road. Yes, this can cause a lot of frustration, I feel it too, don't worry. That person who was riding in the middle of the road was not being a “jerk” however. They were just doing what was accustomed to them. Practice your aloha, and take a few deep breaths. And hey, try to enjoy some of these events and the beauty that lies within them. For me, it is the determination I could see on those ladies' faces as they fought to the finish line. For the Kona Coffee Festival I think of the coffee farmer who is out there busting his back trying to make ends meet with this year's crop. This festival, while more flashy than he may be, is most likely an event that provides him with great reassurance and pride for what he puts all of his effort into.
How does this tie into real estate? You may have never thought I would get there, but finally here we are. This is a prime example of opening your home up to others. Hospitality is at the root of the aloha spirit, and the headquarters for that hospitality is your home. I don’t mean you should just invite all of these visitors into your literal home, but be open to them visiting us here on the island. Be kind, patient, and share a smile with them. A smile means the same thing no matter what language you speak.