The word mālama — meaning “to care for” or “to tend to” — has been included in many of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s recent stories about Hawaiʻi and in sharing what it means to Mālama Kuʻu Home, which means “care for my beloved home.” Mālama comes from an understanding of what it feels like to be mālama ʻia (“cared for”). Hawaiʻi has for centuries tended to the needs of those who call it their beloved home through the natural resources it provides, the traditions that uphold our uniqueness while connecting us to people and places beyond our shores, and the reciprocation of mālama that ensures a thriving Hawaiʻi and its worldview well into the future. Mālama is caring for something so completely that one would do the right thing to see that something through. Mālama then, is like kuleana — a burden and a privilege to serve for the greater good. That is what our work at the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority continues to be. And we are honored to mālama Hawaiʻi — our land, culture, community, and malihini (guests).
The Merrie Monarch Festival Returns

The Merrie Monarch Festival returned to the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium, April 20 to 23, with an in-person audience for the first time in two years, once again bringing people together from around the world through the sharing of Hawaiian culture, language, arts and a tradition only experienced in Hilo. The legacy of King David Kalākaua — the festival’s namesake Merrie Monarch — is proudly supported by HTA through our ongoing reinvestment in community through our Community Enrichment program, which helped support the festival’s three-night TV broadcast and livestream. To ensure the moʻolelo onstage at each year’s Merrie Monarch Festival lives on, HTA is also supporting the digitization of previous festival broadcasts, which is continuing via a careful buildout. 
Honoring Lei and the Artistry of Hawai‘i’s Lei Makers

While the traditions of lei are perpetuated year-round, on May 1 we commemorate Lei Day with celebrations honoring the artistry of Hawai‘i’s finest lei makers.

“May Day has been and will always be an opportunity to celebrate who we are by honoring where we are,” says HTA Chief Brand Officer Kalani Ka‘anā‘anā. “Our community, natural resources and Hawaiian culture come together to remind us of the special place we call home, much like the process of making a lei and what it represents once completed.”

May Day celebrations this year supported by our HTA Community Enrichment program include Hawaiian Airlines May Day 2022, presented by the Hawaiian Islands, a special concert experience headlined by Robert Cazimero with 17-time Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning group Keauhou alongside special guests. The concert will premiere on KFVE and via Facebook Live, supported by Kāhuli Leo Le‘a and various partnering organizations. On Hawai‘i Island, Volcano Art Center will honor the crafting and giving of lei by recognizing May as Mele and Lei Month, hosting several events and activities for residents and visitors.

As a part of HTA’s Kūkulu Ola program, the City and County of Honolulu’s Lei Day Celebration will return to its Kapi‘olani Park home grounds for the first time since 2019. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Lei Wao Nahele” (Forest Lei). In addition to Hawaiian entertainment, demonstrations and exhibits, the event will feature a lei-contest exhibit showcasing lei exquisitely crafted using a variety of colors and methods.
Council of Pacific Arts & Culture (CPAC) Meeting Focuses on Hawai‘i

The 35th Meeting of the Council of Pacific Arts and Culture (CPAC) met virtually on April 13 and 14 to discuss ways the council will invest in, nurture and support the work of culture in national and regional development plans and priorities. Representing Hawaiʻi at the meeting were Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC) 2024 Director Aaron Salā, Royal Hawaiian Center Cultural Director Monte McComber and HTA Chief Brand Officer Kalani Kaʻanāʻanā. Kalani, who was also chair for this year’s meeting, opened with Oli Aloha as a reminder of the crucial work being done by the council and that aloha will continue to guide the way, especially as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. To close the meeting, a mele written by Kalani for his ʻāina of Kailua, representing who we are and where we come from as indigenous people, was presented. Also in closing, Aaron gave an overview of the upcoming Hawai‘i-hosted FestPAC and Monte shared how the festival’s Youth Ambassador Program will tie into the festivities and theme.

Shared Aaron, “The 13th FestPAC’s theme is ‘Hoʻoulu Lāhui: Regenerating Oceania.’ Literally, hoʻoulu lāhui means to grow the nation. It served as the motto for the reign of King David Laʻamea Kalākaua, who ruled as sovereign of the nation of Hawaiʻi between 1874 and 1891. In reflection, Kalākaua took the throne in the face of immense challenge. Hoʻoulu lāhui, therefore, served as both an aspiration and command. The king saw fit to assure both the survival of the people of his nation as well as the cultural practice indellibly linked to the identity thereof. Hoʻoulu lāhui then challenges us to continually aspire to the grace and splendor of our ancestors. ‘Regenerating Oceania’ asks us to reflect on the capacity and, indeed, the ability for the people of our sea of islands to thrive and to flourish in the 21st century and beyond.”
Inspiring Hawai‘i’s Next Generation of Leaders

Building a resilient tourism workforce and energizing Hawai‘i’s youth about career opportunities here at home is an essential component of HTA’s Community pillar. On April 5, the HTA team joined ClimbHI at the Hawai‘i Convention Center to kick-off the 10th annual Leadership, Exploration, Inspiration (LEI) workforce development program, aimed at inspiring intermediate, high school and college students to consider careers in the hospitality industry. Tourism leaders like HTA's President and CEO John De Fries joined in the discussion with students.

University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu student and current HTA intern Māhealani Daclison shared that her experience at the event confirmed her career path in tourism.

“My involvement with the LEI Program allowed me to connect with some of the participating companies on behalf of HTA, which reassured me of the fact that there are many options in the tourism industry and that each career within the industry impacts (another). It was also nice to see other students engaging in the resources available, including our booth for HTA.”

Throughout April, more than 1,000 students engaged with over 100 visitor industry members to gain firsthand exposure of a diversity of hospitality career opportunities on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island. HTA continues to support the work of ClimbHI and the positive impacts it has on our youth.
County Mayors Reinforce Support of DMAPs

Implementation of HTA’s three-year Destination Management Action Plans (DMAPs) is continuing in partnership with Hawai‘i’s four counties, the Island Chapters, fellow state agencies, community partners and industry stakeholders on each island. Further emphasizing their commitment to moving DMAP actions forward, County of Kaua‘i Mayor Derek Kawakami, City and County of Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, County of Maui Mayor Mike Victorino and County of Hawai‘i Mayor Mitch Roth each signed a Memorandum of Understanding identifying the partnership between HTA and their respective counties in implementing the DMAPs.
Using Technology to Leverage Data and Manage Tourism Impacts

HTA Chief Brand Officer Kalani Kaʻanāʻanā and Transform Hawai‘i Government (THG) Executive Director Christine Sakuda recently discussed the important role technology plays in our efforts to manage tourism impacts and create positive change through a regenerative approach. Click on the Digital Talk Story below to watch Kalani share how data-driven actions are part of HTA’s kuleana to Mālama Ku‘u Home (“care for my beloved home”) in Hawaiʻi and foster a circular economy benefitting our natural resources and community.
‘Āina-Based Program Educates Lāna‘i Students About Biocultural Conservation

Through HTA’s Aloha ‘Āina program, we are proud to reinvest funding support directly into community-based entities and help move Hawai‘i toward achieving its Aloha+ Challenge goals in the areas of natural resource management and conservation. This month, we are spotlighting Aloha ‘Āina awardee Lāna‘i Culture and Heritage Center for its Lāna‘i Biocultural Landscape Program, which seeks to help the island’s community and students learn about the biocultural landscape of their home island through a series of educational workshops culminating in a special event. Program participants learn about the history of Lāna‘i’s landscape, ongoing conservation and restoration initiatives, and how they can get involved. For more information, visit www.lanaichc.org.
Join in the #FutureOfTravel for Hawai‘i

In celebration of the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel and Tourism Week, set for May 1-7, HTA encourages our visitor industry and community partners to take part in the #FutureOfTravel by engaging in the week’s online conversation and sharing HTA's social posts

Hawaiʻi deserves a holistic, regenerative approach to tourism that uplifts community voices, reciprocates Mālama Ku‘u Home, perpetuates our culture, restores our natural resources, and provides meaningful economic benefits – which is where we’re headed. We invite you to join us.
Hawai‘i Tourism USA
HTA Issues RFP for Brand Management for U.S. Market, Global Support Services

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority has issued a new Request for Proposals (RFP) for brand management services for the United States market as well as support services shared by Hawaiʻi’s brand management teams worldwide. The new contract will run from June 30, 2022, to December 31, 2024, with an additional two-year option.

Through this procurement process, HTA will select a qualified contractor to provide comprehensive branding and visitor education services in the United States market — the largest single source of Hawaiʻi’s visitors. This procurement is also seeking support services for Hawaiʻi’s official travel website, app, social media channels and creative content used worldwide for brand marketing and visitor education.

The contractor’s work will be guided by HTA's 2025 Strategic Plan, the Destination Management Action Plans generated by communities in each county, our mission of Mālama Ku‘u Home (“caring for my beloved home”), and the principles of regenerative tourism — a model seeking to balance the economics of the industry with the well-being, health and resiliency of Hawaiʻi’s communities, culture and natural resources.

For more information, visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/rfps.
Mālama Hawai‘i: The Journey Toward Respectful and Regenerative Travel
Hawai‘i Tourism USA (HTUSA) continues to build on the Mālama Hawai‘i campaign by reaching out to potential visitors with a message about the importance of respecting local communities when they visit, and our relationship as residents to our home. In teaching our visitors concepts like mālama (“to care for and protect”) and the interconnectedness of people and ʻāina, our most recent video series aims to set appropriate expectations and shape visitor behavior to more closely align with local values. The videos also invite visitors to give back to Hawaiʻi in culturally appropriate ways.

While incoming visitor education is the first step of the journey, the next is communicating these efforts to Hawai‘i residents so everyone is aware of what is being asked of visitors both before they arrive and when they’re on island as guests of our home. Working in collaboration with HTA, HTUSA launched a local campaign in March sharing with residents everything being done to actively reach visitors with Mālama Hawai‘i messaging in hopes that they tread more mindfully and respectfully. The campaign to share these videos with residents includes earned, social and digital media, and represents the start of a transformative path forward for Hawaiʻi tourism.
Traveler Interest in Visiting Hawai‘i Higher Than in Recent Years

Despite a small decrease compared to this time last year, traveler interest in visiting Hawai‘i is still higher than we’ve seen since the years prior to 2021. Though COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease, it will be important to keep an eye on rising travel prices as the cost to visit Hawai‘i is already a deterrent to visit and is a situation that could continue to grow.

Source: MMGY Global “2022 Portrait of American Travelers, Spring Edition”
Hawai‘i Tourism Japan
HTJ Hosts Hawaiʻi Online Travel Showcase

From March 15-17, Hawai‘i Tourism Japan (HTJ) conducted the Hawaiʻi B2B travel trade show, which saw sign-ups of 40 partners with 102 properties and registration from 84 travel trade representatives. As a result, a total 575 business meetings — each of them
20-minute sessions — were arranged and have since recieved postive feedback from partners and travel trade representatives. The main topics of these meetings were:

  • Exchanging the most recent information (57.6%)
  • Sales promotion measures (21.7%)
  • New tour development (20.7%)

The trade show proved a great opportunity for HTJ to strengthen the relationship between partners and travel agents. HTJ will hold its Japan Summit on Oʻahu in June and is planning face-to-face B2B meetings, industry receptions and familiarization (FAM) tours.
JATA Delegation Visits Hawai‘i, Meets with State Leaders

A delegation from the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) visited Hawaiʻi, April 3-5, meeting with Gov. David Ige, county mayors and Hawai‘i State Legislature leaders to discuss the roadmap ahead for resumption of travel between Hawaiʻi and Japan, strengthening the Hawai‘i-Japan relationship, and practicing regenerative tourism. During the meeting, JATA Chairperson Hiroyuki Takahashi said he would promote Hawaiʻi to Japanese travelers and contribute to the revitalization of Hawaiʻi’s economy. He also expressed his intention to, by July, create Hawai‘i tour packages that would send visitors to the Islands, following the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan’s lowering of the infectious disease risk level of travel to the U.S. to Level 2 (see next story).

Hawaiʻi’s leaders emphasized that they were looking forward to welcoming all Japanese travelers respecting Hawai‘i’s spirit of aloha and understanding the meaning of mālama Hawai‘i.
Japan Border Measures Ease and Package Sales to Travelers Resumes

On April 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan eased its Travel Advice and Warning of Infectious Diseases notice from Level 3 “Avoid All Travel” to Level 2 “Avoid
Non-essential Travel” for 106 countries, including the U.S., for the first time since 2020. The change in levels is a positive for Japanese travel agencies, allowing them to begin selling package tours again.

On April 10, Japan increased its daily new-entry capacity to 10,000. Consequently, Japan’s major travel agencies — JTB, HIS, ANA X and JALPAK — officially announced resumption of sales on April 14.
Hawai‘i Tourism Canada
Canada Eases COVID-19 Border Measures

Canada loosened its COVID-19 border measures on April 1, no longer requiring fully vaccinated travelers to provide a negative test result to enter the country. Unvaccinated children under age 12 are no longer required to self-isolate upon arrival in Canada.

Most Canadian provinces have dropped their mask mandates and most of their
COVID-19 restrictions as well, allowing businesses to resume full customer capacities. Some restrictions are being kept in place for public transit, health care facilities and other
high-risk places.
Hawai‘i and Mālama Hawai‘i Featured in Offshore Magazine

Hawai‘i was featured in a two-page article in Offshore magazine exploring luxury properties, culinary experiences and visiting the Hawaiian Islands. Readers were encouraged to mālama Hawai‘i and participate in activities giving back to the Islands.

Offshore magazine is distributed to more than 20,000 subscribers of The Globe and Mail and in upscale Toronto neighborhoods. More than 25,000 copies are digitally distributed to travel agents and travel agencies across Canada. The publication also has a large presence on social media.
Hawai‘i Tourism Oceania
HTO Team Educates Travel Trade Partners on Mālama Hawai‘i

The Hawai‘i Tourism Oceania (HTO) team shared its Mālama Hawai‘i initiatives with its key trade partners and travel advisors throughout March. The team checked in with Visit USA in Sydney and attended TravelManagers’ state meetings in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. It also met with MTA Travel advisors in Queensland and wrapped up with two in-person events in Melbourne and Sydney. Over its travels, the team reconnected with more than 250 agents and travel advisors, and shared information about the Mālama Hawai‘i initiative.

HTO also organized online webinar trainings with its agents during the month, drawing 150 agents from Brand USA, 50 from MTA Travel (in partnership with O‘ahu Visitors Bureau) 20 from Travel Managers, and 40 from Virtuoso.
HTO Hosts Familiarization Tour on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i

In March, HTO hosted its first trade familiarization tour (FAM) since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hosting five product managers from Flight Centre, HelloWorld, Fusion Holidays, Travel Associates and My Hawai‘i. FAM guests visited O‘ahu and Kaua‘i, participating in a range of activities, including off-road driving at Kipu Ranch Adventures, backcountry tubing, a Nāpali Coast cruise, a native tree-planting experience at Gunstock Ranch and much more. The group was hosted at Kōloa Landing Resort at Po‘ipū on Kaua‘i and Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa on O‘ahu.
Hawai‘i Tourism China
Mālama Hawai‘i Performance at Beijing’s Tsinghua University a Success

On March 24, the Beijing DanceHua 呼啦漫舞Troupe gave a performance at Tsinghua University in Beijing with the theme, “Hawaiian Hula and Swing — Mālama Hawaiʻi.” Tsinghua is ranked as one of the worldʻs top universities and No. 1 in Asia by U.S. News and World Report. More than 200 students and faculty members attended the performance, which also included showings of HTA’s Mālama Hawaiʻi videos. Hawai‘i Tourism China (HTC) supported social marketing of the event on its owned channels and travel platforms.
HTC Hosts Networking Luncheon for Travel Trade Partners

HTC hosted a travel trade networking luncheon in Beijing on April 1 attended by 20 top airline executives from carriers including Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Japan Airlines, Korean Airlines, Asiana Airlines and Air China. Also attending were key online travel agencies, U.S. Embassy Beijing staff, and travel media. During the luncheon, HTC showcased Mālama Hawaiʻi and regenerative-tourism videos, shared updated State of Hawaiʻi COVID-19 travel protocol information, and offered Hawaiʻi-made products via prize drawings and gift packages, all of which generated much positive and forward-looking feedback for Hawai‘i from industry partners.
HTC Partnering with U.S. Embassy Beijing for Earth Day Eco-Tourism Reception 

HTC will partner with the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Embassy Beijing on April 28 for an Earth Day eco-tourism reception for newly appointed United States Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns. Alongside other U.S. destinations and national parks, HTC is also setting up a Hawaiʻi booth, screening Mālama Hawaiʻi videos and showcasing its WeChat Mini Program and Hawaiʻi-made products. Meanwhile, HTC is also working on a joint social marketing program with U.S. Embassy Beijing celebrating the event. More than 500 VIPs — including ambassadors and consuls from other countries, and China and Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials — are expected to attend.
Hawai‘i Tourism Korea
Influencer couple Kyungsik and Bora Visit Hawai‘i to Experience Mālama Hawai‘i

Hawai‘i Tourism Korea (HTK) recently invited Kyungsik and Bora Kim, an influencer couple well-known for their artistic videos capturing the beauty of travel destinations, to visit Hawai’i on a familiarization tour (FAM). A short video, posted by Kyungsik on his YouTube channel and Instagram account showcasing his O‘ahu experiences, pulled in more than 60,000 views in its first week online. He also plans to upload a Hawai‘i travel vlog featuring his Mālama Hawai‘i experience at Gunstock Ranch. During their time on O‘ahu, the couple also visited Kualoa, the North Shore, Waikīkī Beach and SALT At Our Kaka‘ako. This couple’s FAM was organized in partnership with Insta360, a mini action camera.
HTK Helps Travel Agencies Prepare Post-Quarantine Exemption Promotions

HTK supported Kyowon KRT and Interpark in their development of regenerative tour products and featuring of Mālama Hawai‘i video assets. The travel agencies included hotels with sustainable initiatives and activities like plogging — a combination activity of jogging and picking up litter — or tree planting as itinerary options in their tour products. The travel agencies also shared information on hotels with sustainable initiatives to assist customers in making their travel decisions.
HTK Announces Upcoming Projects and Activities Promoting Kuleana Campaign

As part of the Kuleana Campaign, HTK recently uploaded five Hawai‘i Travel Tips videos on culture, land safety, and ocean safety, marine life and conservation on its official YouTube channel. It also uploaded four Mālama Hawai‘i videos on aquaculture, reforestation, habitat stewardship and sustainable farming, all with Korean subtitles, on the channel. HTK will introduce its Kuleana Campaign with a dedicated Hawai‘i booth event at City Forestival and a wellness festival in Seoul offering activities and workshops focused on maintaining a healthy mind, body and soul. HTK aims to engage with event attendees and share the Mālama Hawai‘i message and Kuleana Travel Tips.
Keep in touch with HTA via social media:
HTA recognizes the use of the 'okina ['] or glottal stop, one of the eight consonants of the (modern) Hawaiian language; and the kahakō [ō] or macron (e.g., in place names of Hawai'i such as Lāna'i). However, HTA respects the individual use of these markings for names of organizations and businesses. Due to technological limitations, this current communication
may not include all Hawaiian diacritical markings.