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The Conversation

Phase One of Hawaiʻi Island's Tourism Management Plan Continues

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Janice Wei/National Park Service via AP
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The impact of Hawaiʻi’s summer surge of visitors was a strong reminder of the need to better manage tourism in order to reduce the overcrowding at public spaces and to educate tourists about life in our islands.

The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, the agency tasked with those goals, issued a progress report on its Hawaiʻi Island Destination Management Action Plan this week. The Conversation spoke with HTA Director of Planning Caroline Anderson to get the details.

Below are excerpts from her interview, edited for length and clarity.

RUSSELL SUBIONO: For those who aren't familiar with the Hawaiʻi Island Destination Management Action Plan, or any of the plans for the islands, can you give them a quick summary of the plan and its purpose?

CAROLINE ANDERSON: So the Hawaiʻi Island Destination Management Action Plan was created by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority in partnership with the County of Hawaiʻi, as well as the island of Hawaiʻi Visitors Bureau. And in development of the plan, there was a steering committee comprised of residents of Hawaiʻi Island, who represented not only the communities that they live in, but also different sectors — so from the visitor industry, to natural resources, Hawaiian culture, agriculture, and community in general and general business. And the whole purpose of the Destination Management Action Plan for Hawaiʻi Island, as well as for the the rest of the Hawaiian Islands, is to really rebuild, reset tourism for that island, because we know that each island, the community's needs are different. We also held community presentations to gather input. And so the Hawaiʻi Island Destination Management Action Plan, it was released in April of this year. What you'll find in it are overall actions and sub-actions to help make the island a better place for not only the residents to improve quality of life, but also to make sure that our visitors also have a great experience while visiting the island.

SUBIONO: I know that there's phases within the action plan for Hawaiʻi Island, how many phases does the Hawaiʻi Island plan have?

ANDERSON: The plan has three phases, and this is actually for all the other DMAPs as well. And this is a three-year plan. So for the first phase, you know, we just issued out a summer progress report to share with the public, you know how we're moving in the first phase of actions. And so that the public also knows that this isn't a plan that sits on the shelf, that we are moving on it. And it's through the partnership of different state, county and federal agencies, as well as nonprofits and businesses to help move the plot forward.

SUBIONO: According to the press release, it says that 73% of sub-actions for phase one are currently in progress. Have there been any major obstacles your agency has had to overcome, or still is working on overcoming to get to a place where you can get to 100% of the phase one sub-actions in progress?

ANDERSON: Nothing yet so far. You know, we're doing what we can to move on the actions. Knock on wood, no obstacles.

Read the Summer 2021 Progress Report for the DMAP below or click here.

Read the full Hawaiʻi Island Destination Management Plan below or click here.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Sept. 21, 2021.

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