Last week's Hawaii Tourism conference was a remarkable event - it was an effort to take an intense look at the future of our most important industry.
Leaders of the Hawaii Tourism Authority deserve some credit for being willing to accept critical as well as constructive advice from national experts…as they develop strategies and tactics for the future.
There are many challenges ahead - Tourists are demanding more than just a bed and a beach…which puts a strain on natural places. They are venturing unguided into dangerous situations and local folks often feel pushed out of what were once pristine and uncrowded.
Visitors are also demanding new technology…not only to help them get the best deals or find the best places, but even to preview and plan their vacations.
And there are new markets to serve - as emerging economies generate more travelers and as particular segments of society - like L-G-B-T folks - expect to be welcomed and courted by destinations.
The conference took on all those issues and more it's a good sign even as we receive more visitors than ever before, that the tourism industry is still willing to look ahead and ask if it can do better.