John M. Knox has been a Hawai‘i socioeconomic research consultant for more than 40 years. He has prepared social and economic impact studies for dozens of Hawai‘i resort projects, and designed and analyzed all major resident surveys about tourism from 1988-2008.
Before joining the panel at a Zócalo/Daniel K. Inouye Institute “Pau Hana” event titled “How Much Tourism Is Too Much?” at Artistry Honolulu, he spoke in the green room about his youth in Ohio and Santa Barbara, the misconceptions people have about Hawai‘i, and the best place to eat on Maui.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
What was the last book you read?
I’m in the middle of a potboiler right now. An Alex Keller book.
What’s your favorite movie or book about tourism?
Jim Mak from Hawai‘i wrote a book about Hawai‘i tourism. Also, Elizabeth Becker’s book on over tourism.
What’s the greatest misconception Americans have about Hawai‘i?
Years ago, people were still thinking we lived in grass shacks. One of the most recent misconceptions was that everything was flooded in Hawai‘i after the storm or that the volcanoes erupted everywhere. People don’t always know we are a bunch of different islands.
What was your best vacation?
I had one last summer, which was my first two-month, non-working vacation. And I spent six weeks of that going around Northern Europe and Iceland.
What trip in your life do you find yourself thinking about most?
One tends to go to the most recent one. Iceland stayed very much in my mind. Iceland is a lot like Hawai‘i in terms of the tourism issue. The year before that, I did a month’s trip across Canada and had wonderful times there.
You were Maui County’s prime consultant for the current Maui Tourism Strategic Plan. What’s your favorite place to eat in Maui?
Ulupalakua Ranch Store.
If you didn’t live in Hawai‘i, where would you live?
I loved Santa Barbara when I lived there briefly as a young person. I could go back there. Or San Diego maybe.
Where’d you go to high school?
I grew up in Findlay, Ohio. Findlay High School.
If you turned on your TV right now, what channel would most likely be on?
What teacher changed your life?
My high school journalism teacher Charlie Hunsicker. Because I was a reporter when I was younger.
Where would we most likely find you on a typical Sunday afternoon?
At my office working.