On April 13 and 14 over the Merrie Monarch week festivities Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau set up table and ‘ohe kapala (carving bamboo stamps) activity at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo, Hawai‘i to engage and talk-stories with residents and visitors about HTA’s Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP) for Hawai‘i Island. Community were informed how DMAP came to existence in 2021 with an island-based steering committee that collaborated with the community, the visitor industry, and other key sectors. The Hawai‘i Island’s steering committee’s input helped to identify areas of need, and actionable solutions aimed at improving the lives of residents and enriching communities across the state. DMAP is an important part of the HTA’s strategic vision and plan to manage Hawai‘i tourism in a regenerative and sustainable way.
Residents gained further awareness about HTA’s community programs -- Community Enrichment Program (CEP), Kūkulu Ola, and Aloha ‘Āina. CEP was created to supports a diverse array of festivals, events, and year-round programs, like Merrie Monarch Festivals, in the tourism niche areas of culture, education, health and wellness, nature, agriculture, culinary, sports and voluntourism. Kūkulu Ola offers support and opportunity that are community-based projects and programs that honor and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and community. Aloha ʻĀina supports programs and community-based projects that work to respect, enhance, and perpetuate Hawaiʻi’s natural resources.
Adding the ‘ohe kapala cultural activity helped residents and visitors engage in a deeper way, to understand mālama ku‘u home. The nature-inspired kapala designs were made by Hawaiian cultural artisan and connected participants to ‘āina aloha. Mahalo nui to our community partner ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center for providing us the space to engage and share with our residents.