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Here's the latest tourism management progress in Maui County

HTA Messaging.jpg kahului airport maui
Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority
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FILE - A traveler points to a Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority message board at Kahului Airport on Maui.

The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority says the visitor industry generates about 80% of Maui County’s economy — and about three-quarters of all private-sector jobs in the county.

Meagan DeGaia, destination manager for the Maui Visitors Bureau, has been working on the Destination Management Action Plan for Maui Nui — including the islands of Maui, Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi.

Part of that plan is a tourism management pilot program for East Maui, sparked by about a year of discussions with community members.

They’ve suggested a system of visitor information specialists to be stationed at four points along the Hana Highway.

“What this would look like is two ambassadors at each of the different locations providing orientations that the community comes up with about parking, appropriate behavior, safety, trespassing," she told HPR. "And all of this is really to address the four major issues that we’re seeing out in East Maui including illegal parking, trespassing, unlicensed commercial activity and an overall need for visitor education.”

There are about 60,000 visitors a day on average on Maui, DeGaia said.

Summer crowds have also suffered through long lines at the airport. Transportation officials working to solve the bottleneck of processing are expected to announce a plan for some relief in the next two weeks.

Click here for the Maui Nui Destination Management Action Plan.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Aug. 18, 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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