Tourism

Youth ambassadors say “aloha” to responsible travel

Youth ambassadors from Australia, New Zealand and Japan are taking part in a responsible tourism project on the Island of Hawaii for International Coastal Clean-up Day tomorrow.

As a partnership between Hawai‘i Tourism Oceania (HTO) and not-for-profit organisation Sea Cleaners, the youth ambassadors aged between 12 and 18 years will clean up beaches on the Island of Hawaii for three days before returning home.

In 2018, HTO partnered with Sea Cleaners, sending students from New Zealand to Hawaii to take part in beach clean-ups. This year, the project has been amplified by including additional youth representatives from Australia and Japan.

HTO’s country manager for Australia, Giselle Radulovic, said the initiative was an integral step in demonstrating the importance of sustainability and responsible travel.

“This initiative with Sea Cleaners is significant, as the Pacific Ocean connects Hawaii to Australia, New Zealand and Japan,” she said.

“Hawai‘i Tourism Oceania is committed to promoting responsible travel and this activity is an example of how to create a positive environmental impact.”

Collaborating with Billabong to select the Australian youth ambassadors, the five students are up-and-coming surfers with strong personal connections to the ocean.

Legendary big wave surfer Shane Dorian and his son Jackson will also take part in the initiative, cementing the importance of passing this responsibility onto the next generation.

“I feel like it is our responsibility to help leave the beaches cleaner than we found them,” Dorian said.

“We need to take care of Hawaii’s beaches for those who are here after us, hopefully hundreds of years from now.

“I think if we help set an example, future generations will be much more aware of how fragile our environment actually is. If enough of us care for our planet we can ensure that it’s in better shape going forward.”

Hawaiian Airlines is also participating in the project by sponsoring flights for the youth ambassadors and chaperones.

Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, director of community and cultural relations at Hawaiian Airlines, said responsibility and sustainability were front of mind for the state carrier.

“As the hometown carrier for 90 years, we understand the tremendous responsibility we have in caring for these islands,” she said.

“Our hope this International Coastal Clean-up Day is to bring people together to mālama honua (care for our Island Earth) and inspire others to join us in protecting all that makes Hawai‘i special.”

The project will be filmed and produced into a short documentary by National Geographic, set to be released in October 2019.

In addition to the beach clean-ups, the students will also visit local schools to discuss sustainability and ocean health, as well as taking part in other activities with the local community.

For more information on Sea Cleaners, click here.

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