Christian Stan, at 3 Jun. 23, in News

Hawai’i Tourism Authority (HTA) is committed to regenerative tourism and the importance of respecting and caring for the land, culture, and communities of Hawai’i.

The HTA, in collaboration with counties, island visitors bureaus, and community stakeholders, has developed Destination Management Action Plans (DMAP) for Kaua’i, O’ahu, Maui Nui, and Hawai’i Island. These plans aim to address tourism-related issues and improve the natural and cultural assets valued by the residents of Hawai’i.

To further promote mindful travel and engagement with the local environment and communities, various volunteer opportunities are available for visitors.

Some examples mentioned include:

Stewardship at the Summit: This volunteer opportunity involves removing invasive plants from the tropical rainforests of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The activity takes place twice a month and provides loppers and gloves for participants. More information can be found at the park’s official website.

Keep Puakō Beautiful: Visitors can join this initiative to help take care of the marine environment and combat marine debris. Puakō is home to a diverse range of marine life, including unique species found nowhere else in the world. The Keep Puakō Beautiful organization offers volunteer opportunities to support the preservation of this special place.

‘Āina Hoʻōla Initiative: This initiative focuses on restoring wetland habitats for endangered or threatened waterbirds at Lokowaka, Kiʻonakapahu, and ʻAkahi fishponds in Hilo. Volunteers can participate in removing invasive non-native plants and replacing them with native species. More information can be found on their Facebook page.

Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative: The Waikoloa Dry Forest Preserve is dedicated to protecting the last remaining native trees in the region, which is one of the driest places in Hawaiʻi. Volunteer opportunities are available on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. Details can be found on the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative’s website.

Supporting local businesses and buying local products is another important aspect of sustainable and responsible travel. By purchasing from local businesses, travelers can contribute to economic diversification, job creation, and the preservation of local cultures. Farmers’ markets are recommended as great places to find fresh produce, fruits, prepared foods, crafts, and unique gifts while engaging with the local community.

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