HONOLULU—Every destination has its own set of unwritten rules regarding cultural etiquette. Hawaii is no different. Sharing the do’s and don’ts with visitors for their time in the Hawaiian Islands is the goal of a visitor campaign launched through a partnership between the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB).
It’s called the Kuleana Campaign. Kuleana means responsibility and it’s the personal and collective commitment to the people of Hawaii and the place we call home.
The campaign includes 15-, 30- and 60-second videos that are aimed at curbing some of the challenges each county is facing. Videos were created for O‘ahu, Maui County, Kaua‘i, and Hawaii Island. Topics include ocean safety, ocean conservation, culture, land safety, astute renting, and pono tourism.
“Many travelers visiting the Hawaiian Islands don’t necessarily understand why we stay on the trail when we hike, why we care about protecting our reefs, and many of the dangers they need to be mindful of,” said Jay Talwar, HVCB’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Rather than scold them, we felt that if our residents shared the ‘whys’ behind appropriate behavior then most visitors would follow along; in other words, if we don’t show them the trail, how can we expect them to stay on it? That’s what our new Kuleana Campaign aims to do.”
Impact of Plastics and Sunscreens
Some of the messages include: swim, surf and snorkel only when a lifeguard is on duty and be aware of ocean conditions before entering the water. Be mindful of the impact plastics and sunscreens have on Hawaii’s coral reefs. Research legal vacation rentals thoroughly online before booking to avoid scams. And respect nature by taking only photos as mementos and leaving only the smallest of footprints behind.
The videos feature 15 Hawaii residents. They are:
- On O‘ahu, Marques Marzan, cultural advisor; Ocean Ramsey, ocean conservationist; and Ulalia Woodside, nature conservationist.
- On Maui, Lauren Blickley, marine biologist; Malika Dudley, resident and journalist; Kainoa Horcajo, cultural educator; Archie Kalepa, master waterman; and
Zane Schweitzer, world champion waterman.
- On Hawaii Island, Iko Balanga, water safety expert; Jason Cohn, trail safety expert; Soni Pomaski, local business owner; and Earl Regidor, cultural advisor.
- On Kaua‘i, Sabra Kauka, cultural practitioner; Kawika Smith, land safety expert; and Kalani Vierra, ocean safety expert.
Several airlines including Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest Airlines are showing these videos to passengers before they arrive in the islands. Some hotels across the state are also showing the “Kuleana” videos in their rooms. HTA and HVCB are working to expand the reach of these videos to more airlines and hotels. The videos have also been translated into Japanese, Chinese and Korean.
In addition, when visitors log in to their Facebook and Instagram accounts, they will see the “Kuleana” videos pop up on their feeds while they’re in Hawaii, thanks to geo-targeting technology.
Tourism dollars through the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) are being used to pay for the creation and distribution of the videos.
The Kuleana Campaign is one part of a multi-pronged approach to share the beauty of the culture of Hawaii while educating visitors on how to travel respectfully while visiting.