DLNR press release: REGENERATIVE TOURISM IN THE NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT
Published on 13 Jul 2022 in Latest news from the department, Press room
(LĪHUʻE) – Last summer, national television travel host Peter Greenberg spent several days in Kaua’i to produce an episode of The Travel Detective: Hidden Gems, broadcast on the country’s public television channels. The program has started airing and is the latest to bring national attention to what is called regenerative tourism.
DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell met with Greenberg and his production team at Hāʻena State Park and discussed how DSP and community partners have reimagined visiting this popular park, which is also the gateway to the adjacent Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park.
“Public land managers are looking for solutions to curb what has been called over-tourism. We are grateful and need the national media to help tell the global visitor industry that there is a new normal. Make your preparations before you come to Hawaii,” Cottrell said.
The Kaua’i Visitors Bureau sponsored several FAM (media familiarization) trips for nationally recognized travel journalists in 2021 and again this year. In addition to PBS coverage, writers for USA Today, Parade, and Travel and Leisure have produced or are preparing stories on adaptive management in Hāʻena. Reservations for parking, shuttles and admission have reduced the number of people there and on the Kalalau Trail from 3,000 people per day to 900. Residents of Hawai’i continue to have access free at all parks and do not have to make a reservation.
Hāʻena State Park is one of three (Diamond Head State Monument and Waiʻānapanapa State Park) that now require reservations for out-of-state visitors. Just last week, the Lands and Natural Resources Board approved a second one-year revocable permit for Hui Maka’ainana o Makana to manage visitors and lo’i kalo in the park. It was the community group that helped lead the new management paradigm in Hāʻena and Nāpali parks.
Chipper Wichman, one of the group’s original founders, said, “We created the hui in 1999 to really create a mechanism for us to care for this sacred landscape. Our vision was to empower the community to help take care of this area because they were crying out for help. We wanted to restore the integrity of the land and establish a relationship with the DLNR so that our community perspective would be recognized and we would be allowed to co-manage the area with the Division of State Parks. It is a component of regenerative tourism.
According to Greenberg, it is an important site and one that can be modeled around the world on other natural, scenic and cultural sites that have or are experiencing over-visit.
“The problem we have globally is rights. People think they have the right to visit a place and do what they want there. They have the right to be responsible. And a once that happens, they can be treated to a great experience. Community management came into play, not necessarily as a matter of regulation, but as a matter of education. Once you’ve done that, regulation takes care of itself,” says Greenberg.
A New day at Hāʻena, is the phrase that was used after the park underwent significant improvements after the historic floods of 1999 and led to the creation of the reservation and shuttle system, as well as parking controls and limitations. The reinvention of tourism has also undergone adjustments and greater scrutiny during and after the park closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cottrell concluded: “There is no single recipe for managing sensitive cultural and natural resources and a fluctuating tourism industry. We have, however, shown that by being innovative and trying to reduce impacts on park neighbors and rural communities, it allows them to help us manage these once hidden, but now highly sought after gems. There are a lot of moving parts to work with and that’s the adaptation part.
The Travel Detective: Hidden Gems, began airing on PBS stations last month. Currently, PBS Hawai’i (KHET) does not air the show.
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(All images/videos courtesy of DLNR)
HD Video – A New Way to See and Manage Tourism in Hawaii’s State Parks (web feature):
HD Video – Regenerative Tourism Media Clips, Hāʻena State Park (June 27, 2022):
(Shooting sheet attached)
HD Video – Hāʻena parking control, Kaua’i Police Dept. (June 27, 2022):
Photographs – Regenerative Tourism, Hāʻena State Park (June 27, 2022):
look The Travel Detective: Hidden Gems of Kaua’i:
Senior Communications Manager
Hawaii Department of Lands and Natural Resources