HONOLULU (HI Now) - The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) supports community-driven programs such as the Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter’s “Rise Above Plastics On Vacation” initiative, which is a partnership with Maui County. Its purpose is to bring more attention to the simple steps that can be taken to reduce unnecessary, harmful single-use plastics and to educate Maui visitors on how they can be a part of protecting the natural beauty of the island.
“One of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority’s pillars is Natural Resources and our guiding principle is caring for the ʻāina (land) and in doing so, it will care for us. This Maui initiative contributes to this belief and a part of the accelerated shift towards destination management and the visitor industry’s support of actionable programs amplifying conservation and natural resources management. This engagement and investment by our partners will in turn benefit the island’s people and communities,” says HTA President and CEO John De Fries.
There is an incredible opportunity for tourism to be better managed so that both residents and the destination can thrive. This is the goal of each county’s Destination Management Action Plan to identify areas of need, in this case decrease purchases of single-use plastics, as well as solutions for enhancing the residents’ quality of life and improving the visitor experience.
Rise Above Plastics is a national program led by the Surfrider Foundation, designed to eliminate the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics. The goal is to educate the public about the detriments of plastic and advocate for a reduction of these single-use plastics that end up in our marine environment. The reason for the education campaign is because with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated, virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form.
The Maui Chapter of Surfrider Foundation launched an initiative called “Rise Above Plastics On Vacation,” which aims to reduce single use plastic bottles (specifically) through vacation rentals on Maui. Participating vacation rentals are asked to: Install and maintain a water filtration system in each registered unit; Provide reusable beverage containers for guest use; Notify guests of this alternative prior to arrival on Maui. The Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau also is a partner in these efforts and supports it by providing co-branded reusable water bottles and inviting other vacation rental units and condominium complexes to join the program.
HTA’s investment in this community-driven program further supports the partnership between the visitor industry and Maui’s communities.
For more information on the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, visit hawaiitourismauthority.org and to learn about the Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter’s “Rise Above Plastics On Vacation” initiative, visit maui.surfrider.org/what-we-do/rise-above-plastics.
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