Hawaii lawmakers are looking at ways to manage tourism through an upcoming new state visitor app. It will offer a wide-scale tourist registration system for “tourism hot spots.” This comes in response to the state’s ongoing tourism challenges and even mimics the app used at Disneyland. Will the kingdom built by Walt spread magic here?

Inspired in part by Disneyland app.

The proposed statewide visitor app seeks to modernize and simplify the visitor experience in a number of ways. It would provide real-time information about popular destinations and help direct visitors to less crowded attractions when needed.

The concept is in part inspired by, of all things, Disneyland’s app. That is in spite of Hawaii taking great offense to the appearance of visitors treating Hawaii like the Magic Kingdom. Disneyland says that their mobile app “Helps streamline your next visit and make the theme park experience better than ever before. Check park hours, see wait times, browse interactive maps, locate some of your favorite Disney Characters, order food, and so much more.”

Lawmakers want to implement a comprehensive solution that offers convenience, promotes responsible, distributed tourism practices, and increases revenue. If approved, the plan is to implement this first at six locations to be selected.

Key features of a new statewide visitor app.

First, details of how this will work are still to be revealed. What we know is that there is a planned facility reservation system that will be used on a statewide basis. On an Apple/Android app, visitors will be able to purchase pre-paid time slots to park at popular destinations, thereby reducing congestion and parking shortages.

This would be similar to what visitors already experience at Oahu’s Hanauma Bay and Kauai’s Haena State Park. The state believes that these are examples of hot spots that now have an enhanced visitor experience. They have, at the same time, minimized negative impact on residents. We’ll stop at Hanauma Bay later in the week to give you more first-hand reporting of how things are working at that iconic Oahu destination.

The app is intended to provide suitable alternative destinations during peak times and seasons, to move visitors to less crowded places, and to thus help distribute tourism’s impact more uniformly throughout the state.

Accessibility is another aspect of the proposal, which includes things like locating accessible restrooms, and accessible parking spots, to having multi-language functionality.

New Hawaii visitor app will offer safety and cultural guidelines, too.

The app will focus on visitor awareness and offer safety guidelines for different destinations, cultural traditions, and sustainability endeavors. The goal is to promote more responsible tourism behavior and foster a greater understanding of and respect for Hawaii’s traditions and environment.

Quinlan has emphasized the importance of effectively managing Hawaii’s visitor flow to help mitigate adverse impacts on both the local communities and our natural resources. Lawmakers want to find a good balance between both promoting and managing tourism while preserving Hawaii’s unique character and unspoiled beauty. Quinlan said that the focus is essentially two-fold. First, to create more Hawaii parks accessible to visitors by reservation only. The second is to generate funds for use by the facilities. Exactly how funds will be appropriated remain to be unveiled.

HTA will be in charge of the new reservation system.

A proposed bill would require the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) to develop the new reservation system for parking at tourism hot spots. This seems ambitious and far-reaching for HTA, while we’ll remain hopeful.

The visitor parking reservation system will allocate pre-paid time slots at locations that are still to be designated. The fees collected through the new app-based system are planned to directly benefit either the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (state facilities) or the county park systems. These funds will be earmarked for maintenance and improvement.

This proposal is supported by both the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Hawaii Tourism and Lodging Association.

What are your thoughts on this latest idea? Would you be more or less inclined to visit Hawaii if this new app is needed?