Waikiki beach
Credit: Getty Images

On any given day you’ll find surfers, swimmers, and sun-seekers enjoying Waikiki Beach — but chances are most have no idea that the iconic beach is completely man-made and has been plagued with erosion problems since the late 1800s.

Hawaii is hoping to get ahead of the erosion with a $13 million restoration project set to start late this summer or early this fall. The project is funded under a new state budget announced on Sunday. The Honolulu Star Advertiser reported on Sunday that the Royal Hawaiian seawall will be a major focus of the efforts, along with other man-made structures that keep the popular beach from disappearing.

University of Hawaii’s Dolan Eversole told The Associated Press, “This is the largest appropriation for beach improvements on Oahu in recent memory. It allows us to move forward on several projects that have been discussed on and off for decades.”

According to 2016’s Waikiki Beach Economic Study, the beach has an economic impact of $2.2 billion a year. The AP reports that Waikiki Beach saw more than 5.9 million visitors last year — with visits generating 46 percent of statewide spending.

Hawaii Tourism Authority President Chris Tatum told The AP that the authority supports the state’s decision to protect the beach. “Today, it is one of the most renowned beaches in the world and is also tremendously important to the Hawaii brand image,” he said.