DKC – Who We Are
Our mission is to share and spread Aloha with visitors and residents alike through education.
A Bit More In-depth Description:
We work to showcase the many marvelous and often unique opportunities available on the Kona coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. We do this through education of Hawaii’s special culture in our interactions with folks by:
- Using Hawaiian words and phrases
- Sharing short anecdotes of Big Island history, culture and legends
- Giving visitors directions and helpful hints about local activities and places of interest
- Finding local people with specific knowledge willing to share their Hawaiian knowledge in more traditional settings
We participate in situations to interact with visitors to:
- Describe local places of interest to help them find unique experiences
- Teach conservation of our limited natural resources
- Share local customs and words to immerse our guests in local activities
- Help visitors learn a bit of Hawaiian history so they understand where Hawaii fits in the bigger picture
- Share our stories of how we personally came to call the Big Island our home and what we love about it today
We use the following ways among others to interact with residents, both native and those more recently calling our island home to:
- Teach them some of the complex culture of the Hawaiian people
- Give more recent newcomers a better understanding of what Aloha means
- Fund experienced and knowledgeable groups/individuals to share their stories in an appropriate setting
- Treat everyone in a respectful manner
As a 501(c)(3)-focused organization we have/are the following:
Our major focus is greeting cruise ship passengers and crew members on Kona ship days. We welcome visitors at our pier information booth. We provide directions, answer questions, and offer suggestions from a local’s viewpoint so our guests can decide on activities that will make their day in port a memorable one. We share nearby historic sites where visitors may learn Hawaiian history firsthand.
We greeted passengers and flight crew at the Kona International Airport (KOA) during the Covid-19 epidemic, staffing the hospitality booth as our visitors waited for their quick swab results. We provided bottles of chilled water and replacement face masks along with conversation from local residents on whatever topics our guests requested.
We have in the past and expect in the future to provide Hawaii-focused classes for residents to explore the deeper meaning of Aloha. This class is taught by an engaging team of native Hawaiians.
In the spring/summer of 2023 we are expanding more local culture to our current musical welcome program on the pier where our musicians play Hawaiian music and take requests from debarking passengers. Visitors are frequently seen singing with and dancing hula to the music!
- We have a hula halau ready to perform local hula dancing with our visitors.
- We also have storytellers of Hawaiian history, lore, and legends from the Sons of Kamehameha ready to share memorable tales with our visitors.
Pier programs are based under the new semi-permanent green awnings we recently added for the benefit of the community. These programs are expected to begin after our state grant funding is finalized.
Destination Kona Coast has a pier presence on days when there is a cruise ship in port. Currently we have, on average, 7 ship days per month. This is an overview of what we do and also explains what is beyond our scope.
A few things we provide for our visitors:
We provide free maps including our verbal directions around our island. Using the maps, we share how to traverse the area near the pier and/or possible transportation options for places multiple miles away.
Once we have determined our guests’ interests, we offer suggestions where they might go and what they may do. We also provide additional information of nearby areas they might wish to visit.
Often, we can share a deeper understanding about which places to visit. For example, beaches can differ greatly around our island. A family with toddlers will enjoy a quieter beach with more sand versus some of our more active surf spots are better suited for those with good swimming skills.
Sometimes we need to explain shortcomings with transportation options. As our public transportation is limited, we frequently discuss the guests’ questions concerning ‘time versus money’. Many visitors wish to utilize our free public trolley, but as the visitors’ time in Kona is limited, waiting in line for a seat isn’t viable. Many times, the wait to board the trolley is at least two hours.
We sometimes see guests being unrealistic in thinking they can easily access attractions farther afield (e.g., Kilauea Volcano). We live on a BIG island and the distances can be surprising. Our goal is to help our guests plan a realistic yet enjoyable venture while they are here.
We do try to provide multiple options, if possible, for our guests so they can make informed decisions about their choices. We will share possible alternatives, but sometimes there are none.
We also enjoy sharing information with visitors staying in land-based nearby accommodations as well as the occasional newcomer residents.
Conversely, we DON’T do the following from the welcome tent (or anywhere on the pier):
We don’t sell items, including tours.
We don’t advertise prices for other businesses including but not limited to tours, taxis, uber/lyft, boats (Glass Bottom Boat, Atlantis, etc) or land excursions.
We don’t conduct business other than the sharing of “tourist-focused” information with our visitors.
We do not provide a place for people associated with us, considering themselves supporters, friends, sponsors, or the like, to participate in any of the immediately preceding three statements.
We are not responsible for keeping up with ship specific requirements/policies/rules/guidelines including knowing the “time of the last tender boat”. We may learn of a specific ship’s departure time from other ship visitors and pass this along as hearsay, but it is the responsibility of each passenger to make sure they have accurate information – best learned from ship personnel. We also do not know different cruise lines’ policies on what items are allowed – or not allowed – to be brought back aboard their ship.
Because we work collaboratively with all pier-focused stakeholders: government entities (local, county, state and federal), for-profit companies, and nonprofit organizations, we do not assume things under their control. This includes but is not limited to security, maintenance, policing, and general overall management of the pier. We direct persons needing assistance beyond our scope to the proper authorities.
We do not allow our volunteers or contractors who park on the pier and do not have an agreement with DLNR/DOBOR, to advertise their personal or professional business(es) on their vehicles. This includes stickers, door magnets, signs, placards, etc, when intended for private gain. This is over and above small stickers that indicate “I like” or “I am proud to belong to” a company/organization.
We also require all persons representing DKC in public to follow the IRS guidelines for a 501(c)(3) by not engaging in anything political while wearing their DKC “hat”. This includes promoting – or behaving negatively towards – candidates, political parties and causes from the local level up to national politics. Our volunteers and contractors do not  wear anything that promotes a political candidate or cause nor do they  attach banners, flags or the like to their vehicle parked at the pier while engaged in DKC business that promotes/discourages anything political.
The position of “Greeter” on the pier is a volunteer position and is expected to be as follows:
Greeters have a general knowledge of the businesses in the local area and when asked will share whatever factual information they know. “I don’t know,” is a legitimate answer upon occasion.
Greeters also have personal experiences with some businesses and places of interest. They can share their opinion clearly stated as such. They may be both positive and not so positive but can share that the greeter next to them may have totally different opinions. As a point of interest, we all have different favorite restaurants along Ali’i Drive!
Greeters can share prices they have spent in a general manner such as giving a range of t-shirt costs to aide in visitor shopping. They can share how much they paid for a taxi or uber from their home to the airport for a comparison to help visitors determine realistic pricing.
Greeters recognize there are multiple positive and helpful answers to many different questions, often when asked about topics such as Kona coffee, t-shirts, restaurants, great views (sometimes focused on honu/turtles), best beaches, fun excursions, the list goes on…. We give information based on what we know and share that it is our opinion. We also can bring another greeter into the conversation to share their set of experiences. We have nearby local entities for referral. For example, the Body Glove booking desk is in the building behind us with current availability of several popular tours and the Kona Boys Beach Hut is located on the beach behind that for many non-motorized water activities.
Greeters may sometimes need to determine information from visitors asking questions. Example: sending elderly people who simply “want to go to Wal-Mart” (walking up that hill and back down in the hot sun is approximately 1 mile and a half hour for the able bodied each way) to get a bottle of Tylenol may not be the best solution to their issue, even when it specifically answers their initial question.
We are there to assist and give the best information we can. We are not professional tour guides, but we work to enthusiastically share our town and our island the best way we can! We want to make our guests’ day memorable in a most positive way – and help them experience Hawaii as the wonderful destination we love!