What’s been accomplished in phase 1 of Moloka’i tourism action plan?
The year one progress report for the Moloka‘i Destination Management Action Plan was recently published by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.
For phase 1 of the community-based plan that is divided into three year-long phases, there are six high-level actions with 11 sub-actions in the Molokaʻi plan that are part of the Maui Nui Destination Management Plan 2021-2023.
Here is the progress, according to a four-page report by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA):
- Action A: To develop communication and education programs to encourage responsible visitor behaviors. The progress: An Aloha Ambassador Volunteer Program is being developed at Molokaʻi airport.
- Action B: Support the growth of Molokaʻi businesses by encouraging new product development focused on regenerative tourism, while continuing support of traditional leisure tourism to increase jobs for residents. The progress: The County of Maui’s Office of Economic Development held business/organizational capacity webinars through the Kuhaʻo Business Center on Molokaʻi. Requests for proposals were issued for three programs: community enrichment, kūkulu ola and aloha ʻāina.
- Action C: Promote Molokaʻi to attract kamaʻāina and specific visitor segments who appreciate and understand the Molokaʻi lifestyle. The progress: Two projects were funded — Molokaʻi Paniolo Heritage Kamehameha Rodeo and Workshops; and the Molokaʻi Holokai Hoʻolauleʻa. Two requests for proposals were issued to support agritourism and cultural tourism activities. And, the Molokaʻi advisory group was formed. It is now called the Molokaʻi Advisory Group and Steering Committee, and has held two meetings.
- Action D: Enhance resident-visitor relations by strengthening existing cultural/community-based organizations and actions. The progress: Funding was provided to the Keawanui Food System Revitalization Project and for critical habitat improvements within the Anapuka Predator Proof Fence Project. Funding for the rodeo and workshops and Molokaʻi Holokai Hoʻolauleʻa — and the requests for proposals for the three previous mentioned programs — also is part of this sub-action.
- Action E: Provide accommodations that meet the needs of the target segments. The progress: Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau reached out to community members who identified Mālama Park as a community infrastructure in need.
- Action F: Engage partners to determine a path forward that will enhance interisland transportation options for both residents and visitors. The progress: Maui County has been working with US Rep. Kai Kahele’s office to examine how to get Molokaʻi Airport designated as “essential service.” It is recommended that residents contact his office to further advocate for this designation.
The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority works with the County of Maui’s Office of Economic Development, Office of the Mayor’s Community Liaison for tourism, and the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau.
HTA also provided funds to the Hawai‘i and Maui visitor bureaus to hire a destination manager in August 2021 to assist HTA in implementing the plan. Other state, county and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and the visitor industry also have been integral to advancing the plan, according to the HTA.