A tourism management plan for the island of Hawaii is being phased in, with the Hawaii Tourism Authority reporting continued progress against targets for 2021.
Of the 45 sub-actions of the first phase of the project to be completed this year, 33 were underway as of July 31, the agency said.
The Destination Management Action Plan is a collaboration between HTA, the Hawaii County Department of Research and Development, and the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau.
Several of the key actions identified by tourism officials, working with the community, for the island correspond to the findings of a recent University of Hawaii survey of visitors to the Americas, which found that visitors were willing to pay more for authentic cultural experiences, learning opportunities and locally sourced food.
Some of these cultural experiences, according to Jerry Agrusa, study co-author and professor at the UH Manoa School of Travel Industry Management, may include working on a taro plot, helping rebuild old ponds. Hawaiians, invasive species cleanup on a hiking trail and / or beach cleanup.
“One of the things families want is that they want something educational while on vacation – something the kids bring back and that includes learning about the local culture,” Agrusa said in a statement. Press release.
The categories identified in the destination management action plan:
• Protect and preserve places and hot spots of cultural significance.
• Develop educational resources and programs to perpetuate authentic Hawaiian culture and Olelo Hawaii.
Among the main findings of the UH survey, when asked if respondents were willing to pay more to live and support sustainable tourism experiences in Hawaii, more than 70% answered “yes” and about a third said. said they would pay more than 10%. Additionally, over 35% of respondents were willing to pay more than 10% more for culturally-respectful Hawaii travel experiences, and nearly 20% were willing to pay 16% more.
• Support and promote aina-based education and practices to protect and preserve our natural resources so that residents and visitors are aloha aina.
• Connect with community networks and partner with community organizations to collaboratively identify sites, define carrying capacities and implement stewardship plans to protect and preserve our natural resources.
• Create opportunities for ongoing dialogue, communication and engagement between the tourism industry, government and communities to improve community-industry relationships and better serve the community.
• Implement a comprehensive communication and education plan that facilitates positive relationships between the community and visitors and pono practices, including the Pono Pledge.
• Promote agri-tourism and partner with the agriculture industry on the island of Hawaii to support local food security.
Almost 80% of those polled in the UH survey said they were willing to pay more to support locally grown food. Over 20% indicated they would be willing to increase their food bill by 16% or more, while over 37% of survey participants indicated they would be willing to increase their food bill by 11% or more.
• Invest in community programs that improve the quality of life in communities.
• Advocate / create more sources of funding to improve infrastructure.
• Improve the application of regulations on seasonal rentals.
The 28-question online UH survey was administered at random to residents of the continental United States who had traveled by plane for vacation at least once in the past year. Researchers collected 455 responses to the survey, of which 64% were first-time visitors to Hawaii, while 36% had visited the islands before.
The results of the UH were published in the Journal of Risk and Financial Management.
The Destination Management Action Plan progress report can be viewed at https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/media/7678/hawaii-island-dmap-progress-report_summer-2021_final.pdf.