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Progress made on tourism initiatives

LIHU‘E — Educating tourists on local culture, improving traffic and fixing a frayed relationship between residents and the visitor industry are among the top priorities listed in the 2021-2023 Kaua‘i Destination Management Plan.

A progress report for the strategy, which is helmed by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority in partnership with a slew of county, state and federal agencies, nonprofits and the visitor industry, was published on Wednesday.

Thirty-six Phase One actions were slated for implementation under the Kaua‘i DMAP in 2021. Twenty-two, or 61% of the total actions, were in progress as of July 30, in addition to two Phase Two actions initiated ahead of schedule.

Ongoing efforts include the propagation of educational videos on appropriate behavior toward endangered species like the Hawaiian monk seal, honu and others. Multiple reports of visitors harassing such animals occurred throughout the summer, sparking outrage among Hawai‘i residents.

HTA has already posted the videos on social media and is working to play the videos on flights, in the airport and on hotel TV channels.

The management plan also calls for measures to address overtourism on Kaua‘i by keeping track of visitor statistics and enacting reservation systems at so-called visitor hotspots.

Both the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and HTA are in the midst of establishing such reservation systems, according to the progress report.

Other DMAP initiatives cover the promotion and accurate representation of Kaua‘i cultural practices, values and products.

Kaua‘i County has published “Tips from Aunty Lani: How to travel with Aloha” online, and a “Kaua‘i 101” curriculum for visitors and new residents is under consideration. A brick-and-mortar retail and networking space for Kaua‘i products, funded by HTA, is anticipated to open on Rice Street in Lihu‘e sometime this fall.

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Scott Yunker, general assignment reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or syunker@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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