Soaring over the trees on a zipline tour
with Skyline Eco-Adventures, Maui, a Hawaii Ecotourism Association member.
As growing numbers of conscientious clients look for ways to experience Hawaii in an eco-friendly fashion, an organization in the islands has recently upgraded its Web site with a wealth of information to help them do just that.
The Hawaii Ecotourism Association — a 100-member partnership of ecotourism firms, adventure companies, activity providers and accommodations — is actively promoting the enhancements of its Web site. The new online resource offers travelers advanced details on hiking, sightseeing, kayaking, whale watching, ziplining and walking and botanical tours along with information on where to stay in between those adventures.
Environmentally-aware travelers will find the association’s revamped Web site a much more effective trip-planning tool than its predecessor. The site is being promoted as a one-stop tool for learning about eco-friendly activities and tours that bring alive the unique natural wonders of each island in the Hawaiian chain. At the same time, it has been designed to provide helpful links to connect people to information about the profound, living culture of Hawaii.
Highlights of the new Web site include easy access to a list of members’ distinctive activities, pastimes and experiences. These include guided eco-tours like horseback riding, historic walking tours, bird-watching and boat trips. Member accommodations range from bed and breakfasts to small inns and boutique hotels.
On the site, Hawaii Ecotourism Association members provide a green primer for visitors to consider and follow while touring Hawaii. The site also presents helpful features, articles and information on sustainability and ecotourism in the state, with links to resources like the newly launched educational Hawaii-oriented PacificNetwork.tv.
Meanwhile, agents and their clients can tap the Web site for free access to printer-friendly Hawaii Ecotourism Association products. For instance, they can go there to get a guide called Visitor Sights of Kaneohe Bay, which features a map of the windward Oahu destination and off-the-beaten-path excursions in the area.
According to Hawaii Ecotourism Association president Annette Kaohelaulii, the Web site has been redesigned so it can serve as a tool for clients to plan and gather information before they arrive in the islands.
"The visitor market is changing, and there are more people seeking a vacation that is not just about sun and surf," said Kaohelaulii. "Our customers expect a unique Hawaii travel experience, whether they are exploring trails, learning about the Hawaiian culture, getting their feet wet to plant kalo [taro] or even volunteering with programs such as the removal of alien species. They want to be engaged."
Founded in 1995, the Hawaii Ecotourism Association is dedicated to preserving Hawaii’s unique environment and culture through responsible travel. For a limited time, clients who send a self-addressed envelope to the association — with 76 cents postage — will receive Ke Ala Moae: The Tradewind Trail, a set of seven brochures highlighting special places to see and things to do along the coastal highway through windward Oahu.