‘Responsible Tourism’ talk Thursday

  • Contributed photo

    Olof Yrr Atladottir, past vice president of the European Travel Commission, talks responsible tourism on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort near Hanamaulu.

LIHUE — The former director general of the Icelandic Tourist Board will share lessons learned from tourism impacts to the Nordic island nation in a presentation on Kauai Thursday.

Olof Yrr Atladottir, past vice president of the European Travel Commission, will speak on “Responsible Tourism” at 5:30 p.m. at the Kauai Beach Resort.

It is free.

“Kauai is not alone in grappling with the stressors created by a vibrant tourist economy,” said Kauai Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Perriello. “We have the chance to hear from someone who led an island country’s visitor sector and learn from her successes and mistakes.”

Tourism is Kauai’s largest industry with nearly 1.3 million visitor arrivals in 2017. Some of the impacts that need to be addressed to sustain the major economic driver include managing traffic congestion, overburdened infrastructure, threatened ecosystems, lack of parking, regulation enforcement, inflated housing prices and frustrated residents.

For the past several years, Iceland has experienced an unprecedented surge in visitor arrivals, which has bolstered its economy while introducing new challenges to the island country.

Atladottir will speak about the importance of advocating for a holistic approach to tourism as travel heads into an era where the industry is globally impacting society unlike any other industry.

“Because of its dependence and impact upon daily lives and public services, the rise of tourism has brought about a need for innovative and holistic thinking within public policy, planning and governance,” she said, “one that seeks to intertwine a number of areas that we have, until now, been able to think about in separate terms.”

Atladottir has gained experience in the field of public administration, legislation and regulatory framework, institutional development along with transformation and crisis management.

Through her responsibilities on the Icelandic Tourist Board, she has extensive experience in destination management planning; quality control and regulatory frameworks for tourism.

Atladottir was invited to be one of the keynote speakers at the previous Hawaii Tourism Authority 2017 Global Tourism Summit in Honolulu. Kauai attendees said Atladottir’s message was timely for Kauai.

“When I heard Olof Yrr speak at the Hawaii Tourism Authority Global Tourism Summit last year, I knew her presentation would resonate with Kauai,” said Sue Kanoho, executive director at Kauai Visitors Bureau. “I’m happy we will have the opportunity to hear about lessons learned in Iceland.”

Registration is at 5:30 p.m. with Atladottir presenting at 6 p.m. Reservations are required at responsibletourismkauai.eventbrite.com.

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