HONOLULU (KHON2) — Does Hawaii suffer from over tourism? Or is it the types of tourists that come to Hawaii that give the locals a headache. 

UH Manoa School of Travel Industry Management in the Shidler College of Business conducted a survey on an underutilized type of tourism not often practiced or researched. 

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It’s called “regenerative” tourism and it is when visitors travel with a mindset to leave a destination better than when they first arrived. 

Examples of this type of tourism would be picking up trash along Hawaii beaches, volunteering time to clean fishing nets in the ocean, planting native Hawaii trees and more. 

The survey asked 463 Kauai residents if regenerative tourism makes the tourism industry and tourists more attractive to residents. 

Their study found 96.3% of Kauai residents responded in favor toward the regenerative travel and 98.7% responded favorably toward tourist attractiveness.

Professor and study co-author Jerry Agrusa said these results show evidence for a not very well-known type of tourists. 

“Before COVID in 2019, there was actually a pushback by the residents of Hawaiʻi, they felt like there were too many tourists—the term ‘over tourism’ came up. When COVID came and we locked everything down in 2020 and we had 200,000 people unemployed in one month, it was an opportunity to stop and say, ‘let’s see what we can do to improve tourism from all stakeholder’s perspective including the residents when we open back up.’ One of the things that we were able to do is try to target the type of tourist that we want.”

Professor and study co-author Jerry Agrusa

Agrusa said regenerative tourism involves providing activities for visitors that will allow destinations to heal, while counterbalancing the social, economic and environmental impacts of tourism.

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To read the full study by UH Manoa School of Travel Industry on this type of tourism head to their website