Maui News

Community-based proposals sought for East Maui Tourism Management Pilot Program

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Kaihalulu “Red Sand” Beach in East Maui. PC: file photo Michael Gorenstein

The Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau is working collaboratively with the residents of East Maui to develop the East Maui Tourism Management Pilot Program. The program is made possible under an ongoing partnership and funding provided by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.

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.

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 Nā‘ili‘ilihaele Stream (also known as Bamboo Forest), Waikamoi Falls, Kaihalulu (also known as Red Sand Beach), Wai‘oka (also known as Venus Pools), and Honolewa (also known as South Wailua Falls).

Waioka Pond. Maui Now image.

The East Maui Tourism Management Pilot Program is part of HTA’s destination management commitment to Mālama Ku‘u 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.

Wailua waterfall at Honolewa Stream in East Maui. File photo by Wendy Osher.

“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 online.

RFP Informational Briefing: MVCB will host a virtual information session on Zoom from noon to 1 p.m. HST on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 to provide individuals and organizations with further information on HTA’s strategic direction and vision for managed tourism, the RFP application, and award process. A session recording will be posted online for those who are unable to attend. Register online HERE.


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