The nature of tourism
A local visitor-publication company is selling a calendar that will benefit environmental groups
A Hawaii publishing company that caters to Japanese visitors, encouraged by its surveys that show growing reader interest in ecology, has partnered with the Outdoor Circle and the Hawaii Nature Center to publish a calendar that will benefit the environmental groups.
Aloha Street, a free-circulation magazine for Japanese tourists that distributes some 500,000 copies a year, has discovered that Japanese tourists are eager to help preserve the beauty that brings them to Hawaii time after time, said Hajime "Jim" Ueno, president and chief editor.
A recent survey conducted by the magazine, which drew more than 1,100 online responses, indicated that nature is Hawaii's strongest attraction and that Japanese visitors want to see it preserved, Ueno said. They feel guilty when they cannot recycle their trash during their stay and enjoy staying in accommodations that practice ecological sensitivity, he said.
"Japan visitors want to do activities where they can experience the beauty of nature," Ueno said.
More than 80 percent of those surveyed indicated they would like to participate in volunteer programs such as beach clean-ups or planting, he said.
"If it helps Hawaii, they are interested," Ueno said. The Japanese government is encouraging the population to conserve energy by shedding their warm jackets and ties in favor of "coolbiz" wear, which is expected to cut down on air conditioning costs.
"The Japanese people are very serious about ecology," Ueno said.
Aloha Street's fundraising efforts in Hawaii have kicked off with the sale of a 2006 calendar printed on 100 percent recycled paper with soy ink and packaged in a recycled paper envelope. The calendar, which features photographs of Hawaii's land and sea, sells for $18. Aloha Street will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Outdoor Circle and the Hawaii Nature Center.
More than 4,000 calendars already have been sold, Ueno said. The project is expected to raise about $10,000 for its beneficiaries.
"We are very excited to be one of the beneficiaries of the inaugural endeavor of the Aloha Street Nature Project," said Greg Dunn, Hawaii Nature Center's executive director.
"We believe the project to be a worthy one that will continue to benefit Hawaii on several levels," he said.
Mary Steiner, chief executive officer of the Outdoor Circle, said she was heartened by the support from Aloha Street as well as its survey results, which show that people outside of Hawaii care about the state's environment."
"This shows that the visitor industry in particular understands the important work that the Outdoor Circle is doing for our state to protect the scenic environment," she said. The Outdoor Circle has not partnered much with members of the visitor industry in the past, but this effort was a "win-win," Steiner said.