The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is hiring consultants to help attract more cruise ships to the Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaii’s state agency for tourism recently issued a request for proposals from contractors who would represent its interests in high-level talks with major cruise lines, push Hawaii at cruise industry events, and liaise between potential cruise partners and various departments of the tourism agency. It’s looking to sign an agreement by Oct. 1.

In particular, the group wants to hire consultants with a “competent and credible level of knowledge related to itinerary planning and cruise development,” according to the RFP document. This experience will be used to manage visitor distribution across the Hawaiian islands and help grow Hawaii’s market share in cruising.

Hawaii faces deep challenges in the cruising market due to restrictions on foreign-flagged ships sailing U.S.-only itineraries imposed by the Jones Act, which was originally passed by the U.S. Congress in 1920.

“As an island state, maintaining and developing access (air and cruise) to the destination is essential to the sustainability of state’s tourism economy and continues to be a priority for the HTA,” reads a statement from the organization. “While the cruise industry in Hawai‘i is still a relatively small market, it continues to be a very important one that provides visitors with an alternate way to visit and experience the Hawaiian Islands.”

Hawaii’s latest cruise arrival statistics show a year-over-year drop of 22.8% in cruise tourist arrivals when comparing June 2015 to June 2014.

Tags: cruise, hawaii
Photo Credit: Royal Princess off the coast of Maui, Hawaii. Cycling man / Flickr