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​Hawaii: Tips for Sustainable Tourism

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Couple Tourists at Hawaii Kauai Waterfall

Hawaii is a place of stunning natural beauty and rich culture. The deep relationship between the two is the most powerful aspect of visiting Hawaii. When you learn to love Hawaii the way the locals do, not only do you help perpetuate all that they hold dear, but you also get to experience what it’s like to have a connection with this special place.

Cultural Mindfulness 

One of the most rewarding aspects of visiting Hawaii is engaging with its unique and vibrant way of life. To truly experience it, cultural experts advise adopting an open heart and an open mind. When you follow their tips for doing so, you’ll better understand the Hawaiian perspective, appreciate what makes these islands so special, and deepen your immersion into their life-changing culture.

Take time to learn about the culture, values, and etiquette of Hawaii. You’ll have a much better understanding of the islands and a more authentic experience here. The ʻāina (land) and the moana (ocean) are a part of the fabric of their culture and people. They are part of their home. And like any home, including your own, they hope that you will treat them with respect. Please ask for permission before entering any area designated as kapu (forbidden) or not expressly open to the public. Going “off the beaten path” is not an excuse for trespassing or disrespecting Hawaii’s communities and culture.

Land Conservation 

When you’re exploring Hawaii’s magnificent outdoors, please do as the locals do and make an effort to protect their fragile environment by following these tips:

  • Please don’t take rocks, sand, flora or fauna with you, and refrain from carving your name into trees.
  • Clean your gear. Hawaii’s biodiversity is fragile and unique, so before hiking, be sure that your shoes and clothing do not carry seeds, soil or other organics. This is especially necessary to protect ʻōhiʻa, the most abundant native tree in the state of Hawaii. They are dying very quickly from a fungal disease called Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death. All districts of Hawaii Island have been affected and all trees statewide are threatened by this disease.
  • Please don’t leave trash behind when you’re camping or hiking, at the beach or a park. Pack it in, pack it out. And if you see trash left behind by others, you can help preserve Hawaii’s natural beauty by disposing of it properly.
  • Please protect special places by not geo-tagging them on social media.
  • By respecting the boundaries of trails and paths, you help to keep them open for others.

Responsible travel in Hawaii means engaging in sustainable tourism practices that help preserve the natural beauty and rich culture of the islands. By being mindful of local customs and etiquette, conserving the land and ocean, and participating in volunteer opportunities such as beach clean-ups and native tree planting, travelers can make a positive impact while experiencing Hawaii on a deeper level.

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