Destination Management Plan Committee meet virtually with residents

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i’s Destination Management Action Plan Committee members held an engaging virtual meeting Wednesday evening with residents of the South Shore and Westside of Kaua‘i and the island of Ni‘ihau.

The committee shared their ideas for solutions for a better tourist industry while listening to residents’ concerns.

By utilizing text polls and emails, Hawaii Tourism Authority moderator Miranda Foley engaged the viewers by getting their input on ideas for a better tourism industry where Kaua‘i people can feel safe and respected and tourists are educated on how to move around the island respectfully.

“I hope the community can take some time to share their input for the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s Strategic Plan for Kaua‘i,” said Sue Kanoho, executive director of Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau. “We are looking at how best to reset our island’s tourism with HTA’s new focus of Malama Hawai‘i.”

Kanoho defined destination management as attracting and educating responsible visitors.

DMAP is advocating for solutions to overcrowded attractions, overtaxed infrastructure, and other tourism-related problems, and working with other responsible agencies to improve natural and cultural assets valued by both residents and visitors.

Resident resentment

Kanoho gave comparisons on the number of tourists who came last year compared to this year while determining what can be done to make the island safe and appealing to visitors.

According to Kanoho, the younger generation is known to only visit once, then they are ready to see a new destination, or there isn’t anything new or attractive to explore on Kaua‘i.

Kanoho also brought up the 2019 Kaua‘i “resident-sentiment-towards-tourism” poll.

In that poll, 76% of residents on Kaua‘i said tourists are creating traffic problems, and 67% of residents said there is no respect for the culture or ‘aina. Other problems caused by tourists include the cost of living, damage to the environment, and overcrowding the beaches or places locals go for recreation.

Pandemic’s effect

Last year, there were a total of 1,370,029 visitors who spent over $1.9 billion, with average spending of $1,393 per trip, staying an average length of seven days. The purpose of their trips was pleasure, said Kanoho.

Kanoho said there was a drastic drop of visitors arriving on Kaua‘i due to the pandemic. Year to date August 2020, Kaua‘i had 286,370 visitors compared to the same period last year, when Kaua‘i welcomed 945,726 visitors.

Because of the pandemic, ironically, Kanoho said that the average length of stay for visitors is longer probably because they had to quarantine for 14 days.

DMAP’s goals

DMAP’s ultimate goal is a mutually-satisfying experience in Hawai’i for both resident and visitors while maintaining and increasing Kaua‘i’s value and revenues.

The committee’s proposed anchor action plan consists of investing in Hawaiian cultural programs that enhance the visitor experience; promoting low-impact “green rides” to improve the visitor experience while reducing traffic, carbon monoxide emissions and the number of people impacting spaces each day.

Also, the DMAP committee wants to create a focus policy effort on appropriate behavior that will instill value in both visitors and residents for natural and cultural resources, collaborate with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to develop and implement policies to increase monitoring and enforcing efforts, promote “Shop Local” to visitors while reframing the brand to promote “regenerative tourism” through “ecotourism, voluntourism, and agritourism.”

Finally, DMAP committee wants to develop educational materials for visitors to have respect for Kaua‘i’s cultural values.

DMAP said they will meet in mid-November to review and finalize the proposed draft actions.

The community is encouraged to give their input at esurveyspro.com/s/466890/KauaiDMAP by Nov. 4.

To watch this meeting, residents can go to hawaiitourismauthority.org on and after Monday, Oct. 26.

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Stephanie Shinno, features, education, business, and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

4 Comments
  1. nobody October 23, 2020 5:50 am Reply

    Maybe all of the laid off tourist industry people can shift to work in the Nonprofit Industry. This is a booming industry on Kauai and could replace tourism as our economic engine. Start one today. Salaries usually start at about $60,000, or whatever you want it to be. You will probably need a car and an office. Paid! The best part is, unlike the private sector, no actual results are required! Can’t ever come up with a good idea that actually works? No problem here.
    Now is a great time for this industry as massive appropriations are coming down from the fed for floods, pandemics, etc. This is low hanging fruit and people in this industry are excited. It may sound crazy but our politicians really don’t know how to handle this money. They need someone to take it, so get in on it. Unlike receiving money from private foundations, squeezing money from government agencies is much easier, especially if you’ve campaigned for one of many politicians who have control of these funds. Private foundations are much tighter, and, most of them expect results making it harder to get them to pay for your lifestyle. There is often fierce competition for funds between non profits. Don’t worry, it’s all behind closed doors and nobody will know you got the money. Who bothers to read the those public annual reports anyway!
    Good luck!


  2. randy kansas October 23, 2020 10:06 am Reply

    “Finally, DMAP committee wants to develop educational materials for visitors to have respect for Kaua‘i’s cultural values.”

    assumimg visitors have no respect for our values…most are more educated than our residents;

    are abandoned cars, cigarette butts in the sand, smoking pot at the park all day and having kids with 2-3 different partners also part of the cultural values…there is a lot of that around here and prob not the visitors….how about educational materials for residents too….hmmm


  3. Doug October 23, 2020 10:30 am Reply

    “DMAP is advocating for solutions to overcrowded attractions, overtaxed infrastructure, and other tourism-related problems, and working with other responsible agencies to improve natural and cultural assets valued by both residents and visitors.”

    If only this was true. They are only interested in improving the “tourist experience”, not in resolving overcrowding or covid issues, which is why the resentment percents were (and are) so high and will remain that way until something is done to resolve the issues.


  4. It’s worse than you think October 24, 2020 10:16 am Reply

    I have witnessed both residents and no residents being too lazy to walk to the closest restroom. Start with simple proper public behavior.


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