- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) — Tourism officials are looking at ways to get visitors to look beyond the beach by promoting Hawaii’s history and culture.

The Historic Hawaii Foundation and the Hawaii Tourism Authority are promoting the islands’ history and culture to get travelers to return and also bring in first-timers who aren’t interested in the beach.

A Friday forum on heritage tourism is aimed at ways to preserve Hawaii’s unique sense of place while providing a visitor experience that goes beyond traditional leisure branding, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (https://ow.ly/DEBAe ) reported.

Historic Hawaii Foundation Executive Director Kiersten Faulkner said it’s the first time the visitor and heritage industries have come together.

“While Hawaii has done an outstanding job in explaining the aloha, the culture, nature and beauty that makes it different than other places, we really have room to grow in explaining the history of this place,” she said.

Historic sites such as Pearl Harbor are well known, but others such as Iolani Palace are less so, said Andrew Witt, executive director of the St. Johns Cultural Council in Florida. He said Hawaii shares the same opportunities and challenges as his home of St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the U.S.

“I’ve never been to Hawaii, and I didn’t know much about it (except for) what I’ve seen on television such as Waikiki Beach, the golf courses, the agriculture,” he said. “So I did a Google search, and I discovered that one of the facts about Hawaii is that it has the only royal palace in the U.S.”

Faulkner said it’s important to balance promotion with whether a cultural site is appropriate for large amounts of people to visit. “We’ll talk about carrying capacity, discussing what places could accommodate more visitors and which sites really shouldn’t be open to the public,” she said. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all model; we have to find the right balance.”

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com


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