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Ηawai‘i Tourism Authority furthers destination management efforts with new Action Stewardship Program

Call for proposals to support ‘Āina-based groups, protect hotspot areas.

HAWAI‘I ISLAND – Collaborative destination management efforts to preserve natural and cultural resources are increasing on Hawai‘i Island. With funding provided by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), the Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau (IHVB) is seeking proposals from ‘āina-based non-profit organizations to develop and manage a community stewardship program at three popular sites.

The Hawai‘i Island Community-Based Action Stewardship Program aims to educate visitors and protect natural and cultural spaces in Pohoiki, Punalu‘u and Kealakekua Bay — communities that residents identified as hotspot locations in the Hawai‘i Island Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP) due to their concerns such as increased overcrowding, congestion, degradation of resources, and safety hazards.

“This initiative is a part of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s ongoing commitment to the community as we support residents’ desired approaches to managing visitor impacts and preserving natural and cultural resources in their neighborhoods,” said Caroline Anderson, HTA’s director of planning. “The program is intended to engage stewards from each area who will help to educate others about their home and how to care for the places they are visiting.”

The selected contractor(s) for the Hawai‘i Island Community-Based Action Stewardship Program will be responsible for working with the local community to recruit and hire stewards from the designated area or district.

The program’s objectives are to:

  • Increase understanding of appropriate behavior and respect for Hawaiian culture, natural resources, and the surrounding communities through positive visitor-steward interactions.
  • Train stewards to share place-based mo‘olelo (history), mo‘omeheu (culture) and ho‘oulu (hope for the future).
  • Emphasize safety and redirect visitors from dangerous land and ocean conditions to parks and beaches that are open for visitation.
  • Minimize trespassing on private and government lands.
  • Encourage visitors to pick up their ‘ōpala (rubbish) and leave the area better than when they arrived.
  • Gather data for the State of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) Resident Sentiment Survey
  • Gather data to track visitation

“We are excited to release this community stewardship RFP for island of Hawai‘i communities to address hotspot and visitor-facing concerns,” said Rachel Kaiama, IHVB’s destination manager. “With our communities at the forefront of leading these efforts, we trust their connection to the wahi pana will aloha ʻāina and mālama the people who live in and visit these special places.”

The Hawai‘i Island Community-Based Action Stewardship Program supports HTA’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan and its Natural Resources, Hawaiian Culture, and Community pillars. It also advances DMAP Action C, “to support and promote ‘āina-based education and practices to protect and preserve natural resources so that residents and visitors will aloha ‘āina” and Sub-action C.3, “to support interested ‘āina-based groups to serve as interpretive educators, trainers, and/or cultural ambassadors to share cultural knowledge with the guest and visitor industry, tour operators, and other business owners.”

Earlier this month, HTA, alongside members of the community, County of Hawai‘i and IHVB launched the Keaukaha Steward Pilot Program and Community Cultural-Based Education Program to help balance the preservation of cultural and natural resources with mindful visitation at Waiuli (also known as Richardson Ocean Park) and Lehia Beach Parks.

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Board Names Blaine Miyasato Chair Mahina Paishon Duarte Named Vice Chair

Also, The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) Board of Directors selected airline industry veteran Blaine Miyasato as its new chair and educator and social entrepreneur Mahina Paishon Duarte as its new vice chair during today’s regular monthly board meeting.

Chair Miyasato is the Managing Director, State Government Affairs at Hawaiian Airlines with nearly 40 years of experience in the airline industry. Starting as a flight attendant in 1985, he was Hawaiian Airlines’ first rank-and-file employee to join its executive team as Vice President of In-Flight Services. Miyasato brings a breadth of experience across multiple disciplines including marketing, advertising, promotions, brand management, product development, and business process improvement. Miyasato joined the HTA board earlier this month.

Vice Chair Paishon Duarte co-founded Waiwai Collective in 2016, a social enterprise that blends culture, community and commerce to achieve well-being and abundance outcomes for Hawai‘i and beyond. Previously, she served as Kanu o ka ‘Āina’s head of school for the secondary level and Hālau Kū Māna. Co-author of the ‘Āina Aloha Economic Futures declaration, Duarte has worked with various cultural and community organizations throughout Hawai‘i. She has earned a number of degrees from local universities to cultivate her unique skill set to serve Hawaiʻi through ancestral knowledge and lifeways. Paishon Duarte joined the HTA board in July 2022.

Pictured: David Arakawa, Kimberly Agas, Mike White, Mahina Paishon Duarte, Blaine Miyasato, Stephanie Iona, Sherry Menor-McNamara, James Tokioka, Dylan Ching. Missing: Jim McCully, Ben Rafter, Sig Zane.

“Our board has the important responsibility of guiding and supporting the hard-working HTA leadership and staff, ensuring the Hawai‘i brand remains competitive in the global marketplace and that destination stewardship efforts continue to effectively address the impacts of tourism in our communitites,” said Miyasato. “I’m honored and humbled by this opportunity to put my experience to work, and I am grateful for the trust of my fellow board members.”

“There is a unique opportunity before us to couple the strength of our brand as a visitor destination with responsible destination stewardship to accelerate Hawaiʻi’s progress toward a regenerative economy,” said Paishon Duarte. “We can only realize the full potential of this opportunity in partnership with the communities we serve. I’m excited to serve alongside my fellow board members and the HTA staff in this effort.”

HTA’s Board of Directors is a policy-making entity comprised of 12 members who meet monthly to guide the agency’s work on behalf of the people of Hawaiʻi.

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.