The state’s lame-duck marketing partner, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) is, so far, still in charge of each of the island’s destination management plans. That could change as all of Hawaii’s $100m dirty laundry gets aired. Included in the dispute are marketing partners Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), the state’s Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), and HVCB. This is going to be anything but pretty and will almost certainly end in circuit court. We’ll be reporting on each island’s plans, beginning today with Kauai.
HVCB’s Kauai Visitors Bureau provided input this week about just how things are proceeding with the Garden Island’s tourism management plan. In an interview, they said that the idea of a universal visitor fee is “dead on arrival,” per the state legislature. The universal fee had been the #1 goal of the HTA. Had that come to fruition, it might have provided a means for visitors to pay for both beaches and parks statewide in one transaction. But that was complicated, confusing, and seemed destined to not happen.
Not giving up, however, the HTA sees some other version of a statewide fee plan coming, the nature of which is still being considered.
Kauai visitor fees: those in place and the ones being proposed.
Currently, the only state visitor fees are for Haena State Park, Kokee State Park and Waimea Canyon State Park.
Kauai, however, is evaluating the feasibility of implementing county visitor fees of some type, too, for Lydgate Beach, Hanalei Bay (Black Pot Beach), and Poipu Beach. Word is that the county is inclined to pick just one of those locations initially. We’re guessing that might be Hanalei, where it’ll create and test a pilot program.
On a less controversial note, there’s a new visitor bureau program in place which is implementing signage all around Kauai, designed to promote the island’s culture and history.
Funding for law enforcement at Kauai state parks.
Another current focus which has been funded by the legislature, relates to better enforcement at state parks on Kauai.
At drive-to Wailua Falls, of Fantasy Island fame, which is one of the most spectacular spots on Kauai, you can expect to see changes implemented. Visitor and resident trespassing, and commercial trespassing (think photographers), has been an issue for years but has never been properly enforced due to a lack of funding. There have been recent workshops with both photographers and wedding planners to try to use influence and threats to curtail illegal activities.
You’ll recall that recently, a trespassing California visitor fell 25-feet off the Wailua Falls trail. They were rescued in a harrowing two-hour ordeal and suffered multiple head injuries which required hospitalization. That trail, by the way, is steep and involves holding on to ropes on the way down.
What’s in the Kauai Destination Management Plan (DMAP) through 2023?
According to the brochure, which you can read below, “The goal of the Kaua‘i DMAP is to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism over a three-year period.” Including what it calls “managing the number of visitors,” the plan also seeks to implement systems to address concerns at the following places on Kauai.
- Polihale State Park (accessibility)
- Kokee and Waimea Canyon
- Napali and Kalalau Trail (access and safety)
- Salt Pond Beach Park and surrounding area
- North Shore from Hanalei Bridge to the end of the road
at Kee Beach (capacity)
- Hanalei Bay (access)
- Kee Beach (access and capacity)
- Haena (access and capacity)
- Anini Beach
- Poipu Beach (safety)
- Queen’s Bath (access and safety)
- Kapaa (traffic)
- Old Koloa town (parking)
- Wailua River State Park
(Note on reading the Kauai DMAP – you can use the arrows to move forward and back in the document).
BOH: Our take is that there is much to be gained by creatively engaging visitors to take greater ownership in preserving Hawaii. It seems that sadly, the adage “you get more flies with honey than with vinegar” (which means it is a good idea to be nice to others), is totally lost on Hawaii’s marketing partners and how they relate to visitors. And that’s been the case for years. HTA and HVCB seem to have the idea that it is better to screw things down as tightly as possible instead. Since “travel management” is completely new to Hawaii, which has always promoted the concept more visitors are better, we hope to see them act wisely, and put their very best foot forward in this new direction.
Your thoughts are always apprecitated. Which of the beaches, communities and parks are you supportive of change including new visitor fees such as at Hanalei Beach?