By Kent Coules, Publisher
Kaua‘i is a special place, and many tour and activity companies feel a kuleana (responsibility) to the ʻāina (land) when sharing it with their guests.
Holo Holo Charters, a 20-year-old, locally-owned boat tour company, understands the impact destination travel can have on the environment both economically and experientially, so they proactively created an online “Pono (righteous) Pledge” encouraging all passengers to complete before they actually set sail on their Kaua‘i ocean adventure.
The pledge brings more than just awareness about the importance of reducing plastics and eliminating toxic sunscreens from ending up in the ocean. Island visitors can now consciously make a promise by taking a pledge to live a “lifestyle of stewardship” anchored and inspired by the key Hawaiian value of “aloha.”
The importance of visitors buying into sustainable tourism cannot be underestimated. The Hawaiian Islands’ population of approximately 1.5 million people is dwarfed by the almost 10 million visitors it hosted in 2018. “We as residents need to be conscientious and instill the same “aloha ʻāina” (love of land) in our guests,” said Chandra Bertsch, General Manager of Holo Holo Charters.
The Pono Pledge was drafted to improve the quality of the Kaua‘i experience. “By educating our visitors on the topics important to our island community and environment, we believe we provide a more fulfilling and inspiring experience and hope to further the message of responsible tourism locally and globally,” says Bertsch.
For years Holo Holo Charters boat captains have set an example for their passengers by stopping to haul dangerous derelict fishing nets out of the ocean. Ghost nets and ropes are the number one cause of injury to whales and many other sea mammals. They have been recognized by Surfrider Foundation’s Kaua‘i chapter for being a member of their “Net Patrol Team.”
“Our passengers really appreciate our net collection efforts, often stating it was the most impactful part of the experience,” adds Bertsch. “Being in these beautiful waters and helping remove these hazards give them a sense of accomplishment and motivation. It’s a bonding experience that our clients appreciate.”
To read and sign the Pono Pledge, click here.