The Pokémon Company has pledged $200k to the Hawaii Wildfire Relief Fund after announcing Honolulu as the location of next year’s Pokémon World Championship.
The next destination was announced at the end of this year’s tournament, which took place in Yokohama, Japan, this past weekend.
However, Honolulu has proven a controversial choice.
Social media is awash with contrasting opinions. Some players are excited – after all, Hawaii was the inspiration for Sun and Moon’s Alola region.
However, others have pointed to over-tourism in Hawaii as the state struggles with the demands of tourists during the post-pandemic boom.
While The Maui Economic Development Board estimates tourism directly or indirectly accounts for around 80 percent of all income generated on the island, as reported by the BBC, natives have for some time been asking tourists not to travel to Hawaii as it struggles to cope.
Now the state has suffered wildfires, fuelled by a dry summer and strong winds from a passing hurricane. Over 90 people are confirmed dead.
Aquaman actor and native Hawaiian Jason Momoa has warned tourists not to travel to Maui as it recovers.
“Do not travel to Maui,” he said in an Instagram post. “Do not convince yourself that your presence is needed on an island that is suffering this deeply.”
Of course, hosting the Pokémon World Championship in Hawaii was a decision made by The Pokémon Company long before the recent wildfires.
“Our hearts go out to all those who have been impacted by the devastating wildfires in Hawai’i,” reads the social media post, explaining its donation of $200k would go to the Hawaii Wildfire Relief Fund through GlobalGiving.
However, many have found its announcement insensitive – or too small a donation.
“This goes beyond the wildfires,” said one response. “Hawai’i natives have been begging tourists to stop coming for decades because of the negative impacts on the people living there and the environment. Listen to the people speaking out who are directly impacted,” reads another.
This wasn’t the only controversy from this year’s Pokémon World Championship. Various pro players were disqualified after using hacked teams, sparking debate over whether this practice should be allowed or is against the spirit of the games.