Benefit Cosmetics called out for influencer trip to Hawaii despite overtourism concerns

Hawaiian locals have asked for tourists not to visit as they claim they are damaging the islands

Benefit Cosmetics has come under fire for taking a group of influencers on a trip to Hawaii to promote their new product line, amidst concerns from Hawaiians that their home is being damaged due to overtourism.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic Hawaiian residents have been asking tourists not to visit the islands. Locals have reported water shortages, congested roads and have set up a petition to protest the overtourism. Though the Hawaiian tourism board hasn’t banned tourists, last year the governor of Hawaii said it was not a good time to visit due to COVID surges.

On Monday Benefit announced on its Instagram and TikTok accounts they were taking a group of influencers to Hawaii, however a number of people commented under their video calling the brand “tone deaf” and the trip “disrespectful”.

One user said: “The fact that Benefit sent a bunch of influencers to Hawaii during a water crisis and after years of natives and indigenous locals begging tourists to stay away…but also those influencers to agree to go on the trip too… tacky all around.”

In a statement shared with Huffington Post, Benefit said they are committed to helping local communities and work with local people whilst on their trips.

They said they are “committed to supporting local communities in everything we do. Our global launch event in Hawaii is no different.

“Across every touchpoint, we have partnered with cultural experts, local artisans, business owners, and entertainers from across the islands to ensure our time here is done responsibly and respectively.

“We have worked very closely and in dialogue with our partners and ensuring a cohesive working environment during our stay here. It is important to Benefit to organise meaningful activities and support the local organisations, the island’s coastal foundations and facilities including small businesses in Hawaii.”

And on their own Instagram Benefit added that they had made a donation to help preserve the environment of Hawaii.

They said: “To aid in preserving Hawaii’s natural beauty, we have made a donation on behalf of the group traveling to @sustainablecoastlineshawaii organisation that inspires local communities to care for their coastlines.”

A number of beauty influencers from the UK, USA and Australia with millions of followers have been sharing TikToks and Instagrams of their trip. They’ve been doing goody bag hauls, tours of their room and trying pineapple.

The Benefit Cosmetics official Instagram account has not shared any photos or videos of the trip since the backlash. The Benefit Cosmetics UK official Instagram account posted a video showing influencers conducting a beach clean yesterday.

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