‘Room for improvement’ in efforts to discourage bad behavior among visitors

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The Hawaii Tourism Authority is responding to incidents of bad behavior among visitors that have gone viral on social media.

And they’re acknowledging the need for more education.

“One of the challenges in measuring the work in visitor education is that it is hard to quantify how many turtles were not harassed. It’s hard to quantify how many visitors did not commit a disrespectful act,” said Illihia Gionson, with the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

HTA added educating visitors about where to urinate wasn’t something it thought it would have to do.

“It’s really unfortunate that acts like that are elevated to the level of public discourse,” Gionson said.

The agency also said it will continue to increase signage at airports and hotels, run educational videos on airplanes, and use targeted ads on social media.

Meanwhile, a $34 million state contract that will go towards marketing Hawaii still needs to be solved.

HTA said it wants to increase partnerships with community groups like Kanu Hawaii, which works to encourage visitors to volunteer in the community.

They created a “Pledge To Our Keiki” — a promise to respect and treat the land with reverence.

“2023 is going to be an important year,” said Gionson. “There is always room for improvement.”


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