The tourism sector is the core of the economy in Hawai‘i and will likely continue to drive economic development for decades to come. According to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the industry employed and sustained 165,000 jobs, generated $14.7 billion in visitor spending and $1.6 billion in tax revenues. However, Hawaiʻi is not alone in struggling to find the balance between tourism and development that both meets the needs of local communities and supports environmental stewardship. The United Nations declared 2017 as the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and includes sustainable tourism targets in three of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 8, 12, and 14); These UN initiatives provide a framework for action that identifies common challenges and best practices to support a responsible and thriving tourism economy.
Members of the SBF have engaged in multiple ways to advance the discussion on developing sustainable tourism principles and identifying challenges and opportunities for Hawaiʻi to become a global leader on sustainable tourism. These include providing input on sustainable tourism metrics for the Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard, the 2017 VERGE Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit, and the 2017 Global Tourism Summit.