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The Conversation: New Film, Podcast Center Hawaiian Culture

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HTA's latest tourist numbers; Reality Check: Tax on tourist may help green goals; Art events in February; New podcast from UH Hilo; Finding Ohana hits Netflix today

HTA's latest tourist numbers

Credit Ossewa/WikimediaCommons / CC BY-SA 4.0
CC BY-SA 4.0

On Thursday, the Hawaii Tourism Authority released the visitor numbers for December. 236,000 people visited the islands in the last month of 2020 - that’s a 75 percent decrease compared to the same month of 2019. Preliminary numbers show 2.7 million visitors visited Hawaii in 2020 - that’s down from 10.4 million visitors in 2019. The HTA report also includes the average length of stay — which is up — and per person per day spending — which is down. HTA’s Vice President of Marketing Pattie Herman and Research Director Jennifer Chun spoke with The Conversation’s Jason Ubay this morning about the latest numbers and what to expect for 2021.

Vice President of Marketing Pattie Herman and Research Director Jennifer Chun

Reality Check: Tax on tourist may help green goals

Honolulu Civil Beat has a story today about how lawmakers are eyeing a tax on tourists to help advance our climate goals. Read Kevin Dayton's full story here at

Reality Check, Jan. 29th, 2021

Art events in February

Arts and culture reporter Noe Tanigawa discusses what's ahead for the art scene this February.

HPR Reporter Noe Tanigawa

New podcast from UH Hilo

Credit Ken Lund/WikimediaCommons / CC BY-SA 2.0
CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s still possible to explore the history and sense of place of Hawaii island while remaining socially distant.
Ka Leo O’ Ka Uluau  is a new podcast developed at The University of Hawaii’s Hilo campus. It takes listeners on a journey of the Big Island through its traditional districts, or moku.  Producer Bruce Torres Fischer spoke about what he hopes listeners will take away from the podcast. 

Producer Bruce Torres Fischer


Credit Courtesy: Brad Starks

Finding Ohana hits Netflix today

Movies have been shot in our islands since 1913, according to the Hawaii Film Office. But very few major productions have actually been about Hawaii’s people and culture. Netflix released its first original film featuring Hawaiians and Hawaiian culture this morning. Finding Ohana, filmed around Oahu in late 2019, features several actors born and raised in our state. The Conversation’s Russell Subiono talked to the film’s screenwriter about the genesis of the film, and two of its stars about an evolving industry.

Finding Ohana

You can also listen to the full interviews below:

Branscombe Richmond, full interview

Kelly Hu, full interview

Christina Strain, Screenwriter, Full Interview

Stay Connected
Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at
Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at
Jason Ubay is a news editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Send your story ideas to him at
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