Through an ongoing partnership and funding provided by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA), the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau (MVCB) is working collaboratively with the residents of East Maui to develop the East Maui Tourism Management Pilot Program. MVCB is currently seeking proposals from the East Maui community with innovative, community-driven management projects to address tourism’s impacts at highly trafficked hotspot areas identified in the Maui Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP).
A “hotspot” is an area or site that attracts visitors due to its popularity, which may result in overcrowding, congestion, degradation of resources, safety hazards, and a negative experience for both residents and visitors. East Maui’s hotspots include Nāʻiliʻilihaele Stream (also known as Bamboo Forest), Waikamoi Falls, Kaihalulu (also known as Red Sand Beach), Waiʻoka (also known as Venus Pools), and Honolewa (also known as South Wailua Falls).
The East Maui Tourism Management Pilot Program is part of HTA’s destination management commitment to Mālama Kuʻu Home (care for our beloved home) and the Community pillar of its 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. HTA and MVCB organized the East Maui Advisory Group comprised of East Maui residents throughout the region to provide input on this program.
“Prior to the pandemic, and through our Maui Nui DMAP process which began in 2020, we continue to hear from East Maui residents about tourism’s impacts and are working with the community to support community-driven solutions such as this East Maui Tourism Management Pilot Program,” said HTA’s President and CEO John De Fries. “Enhancing the well-being of the community remains our central focus and we encourage residents and community-based organizations to submit proposals.”
The purpose of the East Maui Tourism Management Pilot Program is to uplift community-based solutions that will be supported by HTA. It advances the Maui DMAP in which residents specifically called for managed tourism actions: initiate, fund and continue programs to protect the health of ocean, fresh water and land-based ecosystems and biosecurity; explore the capacity limits at hot spots through science-based data; continue to offer cultural education and training programs to enhance and perpetuate aloha; implement a responsible communications program to educate visitors pre- and post-arrival about safe and respectful travel; amplify regenerative tourism on Maui, mālama and kuleana, and the authentic Hawai‘i experience; and develop and promote initiatives to improve the experience of transportation and ground travel.
“The East Maui Tourism Management Pilot Program aims to support community-based tourism management in East Maui as well as authentic, informational, and educational experiences that enable safe, appropriate, respectful behavior among visitors. A visitor is defined as anyone who does not reside within the Koʻolau, Hāna, Kīpahulu, Kaupō and Kahikinui moku of East Maui,” said Meagan DeGaia, MVCB’s destination manager. “We look forward to receiving community-driven management proposals that address the valid concerns among the East Maui community and provide the necessary management resources along the road to Hāna.”
The deadline for applicants to submit proposals to MVCB is Friday, May 5, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. HST. Applicants are encouraged to review and download the RFP at: http://hvcb.org/east-maui-tourism-management-rfp