Iolani Palace is now open Mondays to accommodate the upward swing of visitors, up 4.8 percent since 2008. This cultural hot-spot raked in $930,580 in ticket sales in 2009. Iolani Palace is lucky to enjoy such a hearty economic boost while visitor arrivals to Hawaii decreased 4.5 percent in 2009. Iolani Palace is also now offering free monthly Kamaaina Sunday Tours.
Perhaps the increased visits to Iolani Palace does not so much relate to tourism – after all, tourists are fairly enough often content to sip mai-tais by the hotel pool, glad enough that it isn’t snowing – and is more closely linked a deepening public interest in Hawaiian culture. Iolani Palace, Hawaii’s only official royal residence, is the focus of some contention in Honolulu. Last August, on the Statehood Day Holiday, 25 members of the Hawaiian Soveirgnty goup, The Kingdom of Hawaii, Nation, bolted up Iolani Palace at 5:30 PM. The takeover only lasted part of the evening, but it still expresses that people are willing to face legal action in order to assert the rights they believe they have to the palace. The Kingdom of Hawaii, Nation group, released a statement: “The king of Hawaii has returned to his throne, and the state of Hawaii is under a state of arrest by a federal marshal to ensure the interests of the USA,” The Kingdom of Hawaii Government initiated a similar takeover with about 70 participants on April 30, 2009.
Hopefully, this increased interest in Iolani Palace reflects the re-awakening of Hawaiian culture, and a desire to enjoy the landmarks that mark the development of the Hawaiian Islands, whether you consider Hawaii a state or kingdom.