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Kauaʻi residents respond favorably to concept of regenerative travel

FILE - Hanalei Bay on Kauaʻi
Sophia McCullough
FILE - Hanalei Bay on Kauaʻi

Give more and take less could soon become a traveler’s creed. A University of Hawaiʻi paper asked more than 460 Kauaʻi residents about their attitudes on regenerative tourism.

Examples of regenerative tourism include planting native trees to offset the carbon footprint of flying or removing plastic at beach clean-ups.

"One of the things that we found is that there are a number of entities — hotels, for instance, there's The Cliffs, they work with the Kauaʻi Chapter Surfrider Foundation. They have a thing called net patrols, which help remove abandoned commercial fishing gear from the Kauaʻi shores," said Jerry Agrusa, a UH Mānoa School of Travel Industry Management professor and co-author of the study.

"By doing that, it showed the residents that ‘Hey look, tourists are helping out your home too.' And I think that there are folks that are willing to come and pay to be involved with making it better," he said.

More than 96% of Kauaʻi residents responded favorably to the concept of regenerative travel.

Agrusa hailed the recent decision by Kauaʻi to find a way to accommodate Turo rental cars near Lihue Airport with an offsite parking lot.

He believes Hawaiʻi needs more of that kind of out-of-the-box thinking to tame overtourism, which has come roaring back.

The study was published in the Journal of Travel Research.

This interview aired on The Conversationon Aug. 16, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

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 ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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