The Journey from Respectful to Regenerative Travel

Sponsored -The following content is created on behalf of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority and does not reflect the opinions of Gray Media or its editorial staff. To learn more about Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org.

The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) is reaching out to visitors with a message about the importance of respecting local communities and our relationship to our home when they visit. By teaching them about concepts like mālama (to care for and protect) and the interconnectedness of people and ʻāina, HTA’s latest videos aim to set appropriate expectations and shape the behavior of visitors so they more closely align with local values.

“We believe in travel where there’s reciprocity and an exchange of ideas and learning,” says Kalani Kaʻanāʻanā, Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority’s chief brand officer. “Just as we have a responsibility to care for our people and place, we’re asking visitors to take part in this effort as well.”

It’s a sea change from destination marketing to destination management, one that Kaʻanāʻanā believes can be transformative not just for HTA, but for our entire state’s relationship to tourism. The first step is incoming visitor education.

At the same time, a transformation must occur in communities across the state where tourism’s impacts have become unbalanced and residents have voiced their frustration. That’s why HTA has dedicated resources to programs that enhance and support Hawaiʻi’s natural and cultural resources, to improve the quality of life for all of Hawaiʻi’s residents first and foremost - and are enrolling visitors to assist in these efforts.

Programs like Mālama Hawaiʻi invite visitors to give back to Hawaiʻi in culturally sensitive ways. HTA’s Aloha ʻĀina and Kūkulu Ola grants support community-based organizations and efforts that protect and perpetuate our natural resources and Hawaiian culture, while the agency’s Community Enrichment Program funds events that create unique experiences for residents and also visitors. They all support plans unfolding across the state, known as Destination Management Action Plans (DMAPs), developed in partnership with local communities, businesses and volunteer/community organizations.

“Hawaiʻi, the visitor industry, and the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority are all in a time of huliau, or transformative change, in which an accelerated shift toward destination management is necessary in order for tourism to properly support the revitalization of our communities and economy in a meaningful and reciprocal way,” said John De Fries, HTA president and CEO.

It’s a big change that requires an incredible amount of rethinking and re-envisioning what’s possible, not to mention a great deal of coordination across sectors, counties, and government agencies. But when you start to see the benefits of the HTA programs that support our communities and attract visitors who visit the Hawaiian Islands more mindfully and respectfully, we start to see the benefits for residents today and for future generations. This is the start of a transformative path forward for Hawaiʻi tourism.

To learn more about HTA programs, visit: www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/what-we-do/hta-programs.