How can tourists help Maui recover? Here’s what locals say.
Maui, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Hawaii, has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The island heavily relies on tourism for its economy, and the absence of visitors has had a significant impact on the livelihoods of locals. As Maui starts to reopen to tourists, it is crucial for visitors to approach their travels with respect and a mindset of helping the island recover. Here are a few suggestions straight from the locals on how tourists can contribute to Maui’s recovery:
1. Support local businesses
– Shop at local stores and markets: Instead of opting for big chain supermarkets, consider visiting local markets where you can find fresh produce and unique products made by local artisans. This not only helps the local economy but also gives you a chance to experience the authentic flavors of Maui.
– Dine at local restaurants: Maui is known for its vibrant food scene, with a variety of local and fusion cuisines. Support local restaurants by dining in or ordering takeout. This not only helps sustain these businesses but also allows you to indulge in the island’s culinary delights.
– Stay at local accommodations: Choose locally-owned accommodations such as small hotels, resorts, or vacation rentals. By doing so, you are directly contributing to the financial recovery of the island and supporting the local hospitality industry.
2. Respect the environment
– Practice responsible tourism: Maui is known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse ecosystem. Help preserve it by following responsible tourism practices. Stay on designated trails, avoid touching or disturbing wildlife, and pick up after yourself. Be mindful of the impact your visit may have on the environment and do your part to leave it unspoiled for future generations to enjoy.
– Use reef-safe sunscreen: When swimming or snorkeling in Maui’s crystal-clear waters, make sure to use reef-safe sunscreen. Regular sunscreens contain harmful chemicals that can damage the fragile coral reefs. Opt for environmentally friendly alternatives that protect your skin without harming the marine life.
– Reduce single-use plastics: Plastic pollution is a global concern, and Maui is no exception. Carry a reusable water bottle, say no to plastic straws, and bring your own shopping bags. Make a conscious effort to minimize your use of single-use plastics during your visit.
3. Learn about Hawaiian culture
– Respect local customs and traditions: Take the time to learn about the unique traditions and customs of the Hawaiian culture. Show respect when visiting sacred sites, participate in cultural activities, and be open to new experiences. Understanding and appreciating the local culture enriches your travel experience and helps support the preservation of Hawaiian heritage.
– Support local artists and craftsmen: Traditional Hawaiian arts and crafts have a deep-rooted significance in the culture. Visit local galleries and shops, and consider purchasing authentic handmade souvenirs from local artists. By doing so, you are not only supporting the local economy but also promoting the continuation of traditional art forms.
– Explore beyond tourist hotspots: While popular attractions like the Road to Hana and Haleakala National Park are worth visiting, try to explore lesser-known parts of the island as well. This allows you to support local businesses in smaller communities and discover hidden gems that are off the beaten path.
As Maui reopens to tourists, it is essential to approach your visit with respect and a genuine desire to help the island recover. By supporting local businesses, respecting the environment, and immersing yourself in Hawaiian culture, you can make a positive impact on Maui’s recovery process. Remember, every visitor has the power to contribute to the revitalization of this beautiful island and help it regain its vibrancy.