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Local researchers find 'regenerative' tourism makes the industry more attractive to residents

FILE - A Hawaiian Airlines flight at Līhuʻe Airport on Kauaʻi. (Oct. 25, 2014)
Bob Linsdell/Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
FILE - A Hawaiian Airlines flight at Līhuʻe Airport on Kauaʻi. (Oct. 25, 2014)

A new study shows that “regenerative” tourism makes the state’s visitor industry and travelers more attractive to residents.

Regenerative tourism is a concept where visitors leave a destination better than it was before they arrived.

Researchers with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s School of Travel Industry Management surveyed nearly 500 Kauaʻi residents for the study.

About 96% of residents responded favorably to a regenerative travel model.

"What regenerative tourism does is it brings it to another step. We’re looking at not just sustaining things, but making it better," said Jerry Agrusa, a UH professor and the study's co-author. "When we talk about making it better, we’re talking about for the environment, the land, the ocean, the ʻāina, but also the residents.

"Do we need to diversify from being so tourist dominant? Yes. But it will take time to do that. So, now with this regenerative tourism, we can now focus on the tourists that want to give back — not just take. And they’re actually those folks that are willing to pay to give back," Agrusa told HPR.

According to the study, regenerative tourism also involves having activities to counter the social, economic and environmental impacts of tourism.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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