The plan was that it would take four years. That by 2019, the good readers of Conde Nast Traveler would once again acknowledge that Maui was the Top Island in their annual poll. That distinction had recently been lost–to Palawan, in the Philippines–and it stung local officials, both with the county and the Maui Visitors Bureau.
Regaining the top spot wouldn’t be easy, but it was a key part of the County of Maui’s new Office of the Hospitality Advocate (OHIA). Their plan would basically involve teaching people on Maui to be friendlier to tourists (click here for our deeper examination of OHIA). It was known as the “Aloha Spirit Goal”:
Improve perception of Aloha Spirit by implementing and supporting customer service improvements using the Hawaiian Culture and improve the on island (on County) visitor experience. Regain Conde Naste [sic] #1 Island Status by 2019.
Well, so much for that. The new Conde Nast Traveler listings are out, and guess what: Maui is listed as the Top Island in the U.S.
“This accolade is a testament to our island’s stunning natural beauty, world-class resorts and charming small towns, coupled with the genuine aloha spirit and friendliness of our visitor industry and residents,” Maui Visitors Bureau boss Terryl Vencl says in this Maui Now story on the rankings. “All of Maui is so proud.”
Yes, so proud–though there is hope for OHIA yet. See, Conde Nast has two lists “Best Islands in the U.S.” and “Best Islands in the World.” The latter–to no one’s surprise–was once again named Palawan. Sure, Maui technically got a higher rating score than Palawan (88.876 to 85.937), but does anyone outside the MVB office really care?
So in conclusion, Conde Nast readers still do not consider Maui to be “the best island in the world.” And that means there’s still hope for OHIA to get us all in line.