Expanding Cultural Tourism in Hawaii

Jeanne Girard
Jeanne Girard

WAIKIKI (KHNL)  - A Hawaiian princess is honored in Waikiki. Lei are draped around Princess Victoria Kaiulani. The heir to the throne before the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

This ceremony is just one of many Hawaiian activities happening each day in Waikiki, and they add to the growing efforts to expand a niche aspect of tourism, cultural tourism.

The lei draping celebration for Princess Kaiulani attracts the attention of many visitors. "It was just beautiful, the tradition here in Hawaii is just wonderful, I enjoyed it" says Jeanne Girard, visiting from Florida.

But this is more than just morning entertainment, this ceremony highlights Hawaiian history, and encourages visitors to experience our culture.

Something many tourists are more than willing to do.

"They're quite intrigued learning about the history and the culture, about Waikiki, and where our Alii once played and enjoyed." says Kimberly Agas, the Vice President of Operations for Outrigger Resorts.

The growing interest in cultural tourism, is not only evident on the street, but also throughout Waikiki. Hotels are incorporating traditional classes and displays to give visitors more than just a glimpse at the way of life for Native Hawaiians.

And those who work here in Waikiki foresee even more interest in cultural tourism in the future.

"Moving forward as the visitor industry evolves, you'll find more packages and tours that say 'come for the experience' and they'll integrate culture as part of that package." adds Agas.

And culture seems to be something many visitors can't get enough of here in Hawaii.

"We really haven't seen enough of it to satisfy our thirst for culture and the past, its important to Hawaii and to us." says St. Augustine visitor, Allen Girard.