Community values

Shaping the local tourism industry with Hawaiian culture and community values

“Regenerative tourism” is a phrase you hear a lot in Hawaiʻi these days. The Hawaii Tourism Authority uses it, as does the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association.

Malia Sanders, the group’s executive director, says regenerative tourism is more than a definition, it’s also a context.

“It’s sustainable tourism, but with some additional caveats – one being that it really involves the community. And the community has to be the driving force to move the process forward,” Sanders said. “The other is that it includes the host culture. And for Hawaiʻi, we’re really lucky because there are a lot of places in the world that want to do regenerative tourism, but they don’t know each other like we do here in Hawaii.”

“They don’t have this really deep, strong connection to their culture like we do,” Sanders told HPR.

The Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association has community resources ranging from cultural training to Hawaiian language classes. More information on

“Go hang out with kūpuna organizations. Go get dirty in the loʻi, you know, like, get your feet wet. You’ll find that these things really make you feel really good too. And they make life purposeful and purposeful and they’re good for your soul at the same time,” she added.

This interview aired on The Conversation on April 22, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.