In Hawaii, tourism is big. $16 billion big.
According to statistics from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, there was an average of over 200,000 visitors to Hawaii per day in 2015, with those visitors spending over $40 million a day. A good portion of this probably goes toward resorts, beach-chair rentals, and flower-print shirts, but a lot is also going to the state's tour guides. In fact, Hawaii has the highest concentration of tour guides in all of the U.S.
Nick Oducado has been a tour guide at Roberts Hawaii, a tour group based in Honolulu, for nearly 20 years. For The Atlantic’s series of interviews with American workers, I spoke with Oducado about the tourists who visit Hawaii, and how to make sure everyone’s on time. The interview that follows has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Bourree Lam: When did you start at Roberts Hawaii? And how did you get into this kind of work?
Nick Oducado: I started with Roberts Hawaii in November of 1999. I was exposed to different tour companies in my prior career. I’m a retired police officer, and a lot of times venues hired police officers for security. And the thing that attracted me to Roberts Hawaii was the equipment that they had. And of course, the grooming standards: clean-shaven, groomed hair, pressed uniform. Being a police officer, it was natural to me in my 28 years of service.