The Hawaii Tourism Authority wants to change how visitors think of vacationing in the Islands.
Nearly a year into its new Malama Hawaii campaign, the HTA has plans for a large-scale rollout of its new branding complete with education for the travel trade as well as visitors.
The organization wants visitors to consider that, rather than just a vacation destination, Hawaii is a home that is to be respected as well as explored.
During the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s Winter Tourism Update, the organization went into detail about how it plans to fulfill HTA’s Strategic Plan, which would use approximately $34 million for branding.
A good portion of the presentation focused on its brand marketing pillar aimed at protecting and enhancing its competitive brand in a way that is coordinated, authentic and market-appropriate in addition to an update on the state of tourism in Hawaii.
“Our mission is to strategically manage Hawaii tourism in a sustainable manner consistent with economic goals, cultural values, preservation of natural resources, community desires and visitor industry needs,” said Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO John De Fries.
The multi-year strategic plan for building back tourism calls for “regenerative tourism,” which seeks to balance the economics of tourism with the wellbeing of Hawaii’s communities and natural resources.
Some of the ways in which these efforts are being accomplished is through management efforts, including improving infrastructure and facilities, ensuring that local communities benefit from tourism, reviewing and improving regulations and involving local communities in tourism decisions.
Beyond the local impact, the HTA is trying to educate travelers on how to travel responsibly and address the movement of visitors and manage visitation.
While tourism came to a halt in 2020, it’s bouncing back and Hawaii wants to be better prepared for the influx of travelers than it was in 2019 when the Islands welcomed approximately 10 million visitors.
“We demonstrated in 2019 that we don’t have all the policies and systems in place to properly manage 10 million people but that doesn’t mean we can’t,” said De Fries.
According to recent data, tourism is recovering but a full bounce back is still a ways off, with domestic travel possibly returning to normal by the end of 2022 but international travel possibly not returning to full steam until 2024.
In the meantime, the HTA is focusing on educating the public and the travel trade with plans for a training event at end of the second quarter that will start on the West Coast.