After rash of drownings, brochure aims to keep tourists safer in water
HONOLULU — Tourism officials are planning to issue a brochure later this year to raise awareness among tourists about potential perils while enjoying Hawaii.
The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii and the Hawaii Tourism Authority plan to release an online brochure with tips for traveling safely in the islands. The brochure will be available in multiple languages and will be distributed to marketing partners, hotels and other visitor industry stakeholders, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
At least 11 tourists in Hawaii have died in accidents so far this year, officials said. Five tourists drowned, four died in traffic accidents and two fell from cliffs.
This year’s pace is relatively high in a state that usually sees about 60 to 70 accidental deaths among nonresidents over a typical 12-month period, the Star-Advertiser said.
The increase also comes as visitor arrivals are up. In 2012, Hawaii had nearly 8 million visitors, up 9.6 percent from the 7.3 million who came in 2011.
The high number of deaths in the first five weeks of 2013 follows an uptick in visitor fatalities in recent years.
Jessica Lani Rich, president and executive director of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, said visitors often take risks while on vacation that they wouldn’t consider taking elsewhere.
“They think that in paradise nothing can happen to them,” Rich said. “They do things (here) that they would never in a million years do back home.”
She said many accidents that result in visitor fatalities are “daredevil deaths” involving people who participate in outdoor activities such as sky diving and surfing big waves.
She also said guidebooks and online reviews are increasingly pointing visitors to “secret spots,” such as hikes that are physically demanding and tough to get to, or secluded beaches that don’t have lifeguards.
Visitors often tend to overestimate their skill, strength or overall health when engaging in activities outdoors, she said.
Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said visitors should familiarize themselves with the areas they plan to go and “heed all safety warning signs.”
“We encourage people to educate themselves about our destination to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit,” McCartney said in a statement.