HONOLULU (AP) — As people flock to Hawaii after more than a year of pandemic travel restrictions, some industry experts are calling for more eco-friendly and sustainable forms of tourism.
Crowded neighborhoods, highways and beaches are renewing calls for changes in the tourism industry, Hawaii Public Radio reported Wednesday.
In 2019, Hawaii saw a record 10.4 million visitors come to the state. Travel to the islands was almost non-existent for much of 2020 as coronavirus quarantine rules and travel restrictions were put in place. Now, daily arrivals are rapidly approaching those seen before the pandemic.
John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said caring for Hawaii’s communities and lands should be an important part of the hospitality industry’s business model.
Pauline Sheldon, a professor and former dean of the University of Hawaii’s School of Travel Industry Management, said “regenerative tourism” – a model she studied in Canada and New Zealand – could be a way forward.
Tourism officials highlighted a sustainable program in a recent ad campaign called Malama Hawaii. Malama is a Hawaiian word meaning to give back, care for, preserve or protect.
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