Maui looks to Palau in effort to manage influx of tourists

WAILUKU — As some on Maui become overwhelmed by an influx of visitors, the first in a series of sustainable tourism town halls focused on lessons learned at another Pacific tourist hotspot.

Orion Cruz, a Maui attorney who worked with the government of Palau on tourism issues, participated in the virtual panel this week, The Maui News reported Wednesday.

Cruz, a former legal counsel to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism of the Republic of Palau, said the Western Pacific island nation encourages environmentally friendly visitors and enacted measures to ensure sustainability funding.

There is a $100 “Palau Pristine Paradise Environmental Fee” added to every international airline ticket, Cruz said.

“This hundred dollars supports the country in a variety of ways but a substantial portion goes to fund Palau’s protected areas network, which is kind of like their national park system,” Cruz said.

Tourists also sign the “Palau Pledge” and agree to act responsibly both environmentally and culturally.

The virtual panel was hosted by Kelly King, the chairwoman of the Maui County Council’s Climate Action, Resilience and Environment Committee.

“The community wants action to ensure a future for the visitor industry that protects the people, culture and environment,” King said in a statement.

  1. Peter June 24, 2021 6:47 am Reply

    This is the perfect way to manage overtourism on Kauai. Charge a $100 fee to enter the island. You could even vary the fee seasonally. Distribute the funds to the Department of Hawaiian Homelands to build housing for Native Hawaiians on their waitlist. Less tourists, more affordable housing !

  2. RGLadder37 June 24, 2021 8:22 am Reply

    Palau. Do you mean that Maui wants to be like Palau? There are more people near Palau. More visitors. Maui wants to reach 1,000,000 people, by all means try it out. Hawai’i will now have about 2 million residences. Lots of activities.

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