Following the outbreak of the epidemic, Governor David Ige issued an executive order prohibiting disbursement of hotel and other transient accommodation taxes paid by the agency to visitors. Those funds have been used since the previous year, which are used to support other government functions.
Many hope that John de Fries, who became chief executive of the Tourism Authority in September, will be able to take the islands to an era where tourism is more regenerative than extracts. Mr. de Fries is the first native Hawaiian to head the organization and business owners, who rely on tourism, are relying on him to represent their interests as he thinks about how marketing the islands in a pandemic world to be done.
“We are at a time when a lot of our existence is at stake,” Mr. de Fries said. “We understand that there are currencies other than cash that we have to encapsulate. Some of those other postures are natural environments, a sense of well-being in the community. There is currency in ensuring that Hawaii has cultural traditions and should be preserved. “
In January 2020, the Tourism Authority created 2020-2025 Strategic Plan With four pillars or areas of focus – natural resources, aerial culture, community and brand marketing – to pursue tourism responsibly. When the epidemic hit, the agency decided to continue working on the plan. In particular, it continued to consult with residents on how they felt about tourism.
Mr. De Fries, who grew up in Waikiki and has seen tourism overturning in the last three decades, said his approach to moving forward would emphasize regenerative travel through aerial ancestral thought. Malma Which means “to nourish”. The four pillars, he said, would be a guiding force.
“I talk to everyone – hotel owners, elders, even those who don’t like tourism – agree that we all wish that generations to come have a natural resource base that Is in a better position now, so we have to take care of it and with anyone Aloha Will understand for this place. “
This is a lesson that can be learned from other overlapping sites.
Paige McClanahan contributed reporting from Europe.