HONOLULU, HI – The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the state’s tourism agency, with guidance from its Natural Resources Advisory Group (NRAG), has selected 25 community-based projects throughout the state to receive funding in 2009 through its Natural Resources Program.
“Along with our host culture, Hawaii’s natural environment is an essential element of Hawaii’s tourism product,” said Lloyd Unebasami, HTA interim president and chief executive officer and chief administrative officer. “While marketing will continue to be an important focus for HTA in 2009, we will continue to support those strategic initiatives that strive to enhance and diversify Hawaii’s tourism product for our visitors and residents.”
The programs and projects selected address the goal and objectives identified in the Hawaii Tourism Strategic Plan: 2005-2015 (TSP) for the Natural Resources initiative. The objectives include: exploring innovative means to repair, maintain and improve Hawaii’s natural resources; raising awareness among all stakeholders about the responsible use of natural resources; increasing collaboration among government agencies, the visitor industry, and the community; and reviewing and enforcing rules and developing certification programs for commercial operations in natural resource areas.
HTA’s Natural Resources Program began in 2002 in response to a legislative mandate that the HTA provide at least US$1 million annually to support efforts to manage, improve, and protect Hawaii’s natural environment and areas frequented by visitors. The HTA has allocated US$2 million to its 2009 Natural Resources Program.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority was created in 1998 to ensure a successful visitor industry well into the future. Its mission is to strategically manage Hawaii tourism in a sustainable manner consistent with our economic goals, cultural values, preservation of natural resources, community desires, and visitor industry needs. For more information, please visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org .