Hawaii Forest & Trail has taken its commitment of
sustainable tourism to a global level by becoming a member of the
World Heritage Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (WHA). Founded by
Expedia, Inc. and the United Nations Foundation, WHA operates with
an initiative to support UNESCO's goal of promoting and protecting
the 851 World Heritage sites around the globe.
"Sustainability along with environmental and social
responsibility are core tenets of our business philosophy," said
Rob Pacheco, owner and president of Hawaii Forest & Trail. "We
are excited about joining the WHA, and working together to preserve
our treasured cultural and natural resources."
Hawaii Forest & Trail will be implementing the WHA's
training materials on sustainable tourism into its own extensive
guide training program. Additionally, the underlying principles of
the WHA encouraging social and environmental responsibility serve
to strengthen ongoing projects like the removal of invasive species
from a Stewardship Plot inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
"We're pleased to have Hawaii Forest & Trail joining the
partnership," said Erika Harms, executive director of the WHA.
"Together, we have the power to reach millions of people around the
world, and to help both preserve and protect some of the world's
most beautiful and significant sites.”
At the end of 2007, there were 50 members and partners of the
WHA up from 15 in 2006. These members are working in seven
countries to aid in the conservation of at least 20 UNESCO World
The WHA offers two levels of partnership, each being committed
to advancing its mission. WHA members consist of travel industry
companies, such as hotels, tour operators, travel agents, airlines,
cruises and others. The WHA associate partners are civil society
groups, government bodies, industry associations and other
organizations that may not exclusively be devoted to tourism.
Members educate the traveling public about the WHA by providing
informational materials, exclusive packages to World Heritage
destinations, volunteer opportunities with local communities, and
the ability for customers to purchase goods and services that are
rooted in local cultures and environments.
WHA membership was a natural step for Hawaii Forest & Trail.
As Hawaii's leading eco-tour operator, the company has offered
guided adventures into The Big Island of Hawaii's remote natural
areas since 1993. The firm was founded and is operated by Pacheco
and his wife Cindy, who share their passion and knowledge of
Hawaii's natural beauty with visitors from all over the world.
Hawaii Forest & Trail takes adventure lovers on journeys
that include hiking to waterfalls, experiencing volcanoes,
stargazing from the summit of Mauna Kea, walking in rainforests and
spotting native birds in remote habitats.
New to the company are PinzTrek off-road adventures operated in
Pinzgauer six-wheeled vehicles holding up to 12 guests. Whether
fording mountain streams in Kohala, exploring the misty reaches of
Hualalai, or rambling through tropical fruit orchards, explorers
can expect to be entertained and educated. Each PinzTrek Adventure
incorporates a walking element. So in addition to experiencing the
thrill of off-road adventure, people also see the beauty and
diversity of Hawaii at a slower, more relaxed pace.
Both the Kohala Wai and Holoholo Hualalai excursions run three
to four hours each and are priced at $105 plus tax for those 12 and
older, while the 2½-hour Hilo Waterfall trek is $89 plus tax. Rates
are commissionable at 10 percent.