The state’s Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) announced that their latest publication, the Ma’ema’e Toolkit, has been released. So we dove into the 64-page document, which you can read below. “Ma’ema’e” means cleanliness and purity in the Hawaiian language. And it references that Hawaii should be portrayed as “clean, attractive, and pure.”
While that’s excellent in theory, some of the places they suggest not visiting or tagging in social media include most of Kauai, famous Waikiki Beach, Volcanoes National Park, and more. There are 67 places on the list below, many of which are fundamental to why people come to Hawaii. We wonder what the hotels along Waikiki Beach, for one, are thinking when they read this. Obviously, some of the places listed are mentioned due to safety (Haiku stairs, for example) or for reasons related to cultural sensitivity.
HTA says that the toolkit, available to everyone but essentially intended for those who will market Hawaii, is depicted as “your guide for basic knowledge about Hawaii.”
HTA says that “Our home has often been misrepresented or inaccurately portrayed through the use of incorrect information, spelling errors, and inappropriate imagery. Authentically representing Hawaii is deeply important to the residents who call these islands home. Accordingly, it is important that the visitor industry do so with great care.” And so Maemae begins.
The document appears to have been created under the auspices of the HTA by the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association. It comes in the midst of the tug a war between the Council For Native Hawaiian Advancement and the more than century-old Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau (HVCB) for the state’s hotly contested US marketing contracts. That award has been disputed and is now into its third and hopefully final RFP.
“HTA encourages everyone with an interest in the Hawaiian culture – be it learning more about the Hawaiian people, music, language, individual islands or history – to utilize the Maʻemaʻe Toolkit.”
BOH: We can’t say we weren’t surprised by some of the mentioned locations. There’s obviously well-meaning intention behind some parts of this, including cultural sensitivity, safety, environmental impact and overcrowding which gets obfuscated. This document also gets caught up in the vast Hawaii tourism marketing mess of the state legislature, HTA, HVCB and NHHA. We’re hopeful that some good can come out of it all.
Could state’s Hawaiian Tourism Authority soon see its own demise?
The Hawaii legislature has the long-troubled HTA in sight this year and hopes to remake or retake its authority. Some say that the HTA has successfully completed its mission to market Hawaii and that something entirely different is needed now.
We have a few too many tourists and that residents are being crowded out of public resources. — Rep Sean Quinlan.
Quinlan, who heads the House Tourism Committee, said of HTA, “They did so well that the public feels we have a few too many tourists and that residents are being crowded out of public resources. It’s about putting the local community first, which we’ve not done for a long time.”
One measure seeks to refocus HTA, formed in 1998, as a tourism management organization instead of a tourism marketing agency. Changes may also include the HTA being governed by a 3-person governor-appointed group instead of the current 12-person board, which includes 5-tourism industry members.
HTA continues to suffer from internal dissatisfaction as well, and has seen an exodus of executives and staff. The most recent departure last week was of the executive responsible for handling of the botched US marketing contracts.
Hawaii “Does Not Encourage Visiting:” Waikiki, Diamond Head, Volcanoes, Poipu, Etc.
The state’s document says, “There are locations and activities throughout Hawai‘i that HTA does not market, will not photograph, does not encourage visiting, and should not be tagged in social media. These locations or activities are called “hot spots” and attract visitors due to their popularity, which may result in overcrowding, congestion, degradation of resources, safety hazards, and a negative experience for both residents and visitors. Some of the photos in their document included those locations in the do not market, do not photograph list.
“While HTA is not an enforcement agency, it can be a catalyst to bring together respective state and county agencies, the community, and the private sector to develop solutions that address hot spot sites, areas, and activities. Included in the DMAP (Destination Management Action Plan) for each island are listings of hot spots that were reviewed based on input from the community, surveys and meetings, feedback from each county, island chapters of the various Island Visitor Bureaus, and the respective island’s Steering Committee.”
“Each island’s DMAP identifies areas, sites, and activities of utmost concern—however, there are other areas, sites, and activities that may be also considered hot spots that are not listed here. HTA, together with the respective agencies, will monitor these as needed to help mitigate issues.”
17 Oahu Hotspots HTA does not encourage visiting or tagging.
- Haiku Stairs
- Halona Blowhole
- Hanauma Bay
- Kaena Point
- Kaohao, Lanikai Pillbox Trail
- Kailua Beach and Town
- Kaniakapupu Ruins
- Koko Crater Trail/Koko Head Stairs
- Kukaniloko Birthstones State Historic Site
- Laniakea/Turtle Beach
- Leahi/Diamond Head
- Lulumahu Falls
- Maelieli Trail/Ahuimanu/Kahaluu
- Makapuu hike
- Maunawili Falls
- North Shore/Haleiwa
11 Maui Hotspots HTA does not encourage visiting or tagging.
- Awehi Trail
- Kanepuu Reserve
- Keomoku Village
- Lopa/Kikoa Beach
- Manele: Hulopoe Marine Life Conservation District
- Munro Trail
- Naha Trail Overlook
15 Kauai Hotspots HTA does not encourage visiting or tagging.
- Polihale State Park
- Kokee and Waimea Canyon
- Napali and Kalalau Trail
- Salt Pond Beach Park and the surrounding area
- North Shore – From Hanalei Bridge to Kee Beach
- Hanalei Bay
- Kee Beach
- Anini Beach
- Poipu Beach
- Queen’s Bath
- Old Koloa town
- Wailua River State Park
24 Big Island Hotspots HTA does not encourage visiting or tagging.
- Waipio Valley
- Kau – Papakolea/Green Sands Beach
- South Kona – Hookena, Milolii
- Kahaluu Bay
- Alii Drive
- Pololu Valley
- Kalae (South Point)
- Kailua Pier
- Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park
- Hookena Beach
- Laaloa Beach (Magic Sands Beach)
- Akaka Falls State Park
- Keauhou Bay
- Banyan Drive
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Honaunau Bay, Captain Cook Monument
- Wailuku River State Park
- Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area
- Kiholo State Park Reserve