SF Chronicle: Trouble in paradise: How remote work changed Hawaii.

SF Chronicle: Trouble in paradise: How remote work changed Hawaii.

When the pandemic hit, Hawaii turned from tourist destination to an alluring remote work magnet. A program called Movers and Shakas even offered a free flight in exchange for working with nonprofits. Hundreds of San Franciscans made the move, according to IRS data.

The new residents lifted the economy as tourism plunged, but they also brought some familiar challenges to the islands: exacerbating already high housing costs and putting more economic pressure on locals, as my colleague Chase DiFeliciantonio reports. One of the most prominent examples: Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg buying 110 acres in Kauai for $17 million late last year, adding to his already huge compound on the Garden Island.

As some companies have called workers back to their continental offices, the tide of arrivals in Hawaii appears to have slowed, with Movers and Shakas seeing a dearth of applications. But even as change has slowed, the islands remain a desirable destination, and an ongoing challenge is how to meet that influx of newcomers in a sustainable way. As the Bay Area shows, it’s a tough change to handle.

Did you move out of California during the pandemic? Let me know at roland.li@sfchronicle.com and on Twitter @rolandlisf


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