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For travel agents looking to boost their bookings to Hawaii, here’s a message from the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB): Target avid travelers who want experiences that can only be found in the 50th State.
"Our research shows that people who are willing to go to the islands are very considerate about their vacation activities," said HVCB senior vice president of marketing Jay Talwar. "They’re looking for truly unique things to see and do. Agents need to keep educating themselves on those distinctive selling points."
Blue Dolphin Charters rafts along Kauai’s Na Pali Coast.
To start, Talwar and his team suggested that agents tell their discriminating clients about the following incomparable activities.
Hawaii Movie Tours: While other destinations have movie tours, no other can show clients the spectacular sites and sets of Kauai. Here, clients can see such stars of the screen as Wailua Falls, from the "Fantasy Island" television series; Coco Palms, home of Elvis Presley’s "Blue Hawaii;" and the interior where "Jurassic Park" scenes were filmed.
Mountain Tubing: More than a century ago, laborers hand-built the Hanamaulu ditch system to bring water from Mount Waialeale to irrigate sugar-cane fields. Today, the waterways beckon to adventurers on inner tubes, a fun way to access the island’s interior. Kauai Backcountry Adventures leads the way through flumes and tunnels.
Sailing the Na Pali Coast: Fluted sea cliffs line the north shore’s Na Pali Coast, luring clients who are intent on experiencing its rugged terrain. The scenery appears much as it did centuries ago when Hawaiian settlements flourished in its valleys. Inaccessible by car, the coast is best visited by boat via Blue Dolphin Charters, which offers tours aboard its catamarans. Scuba-diving clients can also take a dip in the waters off the coast.
Island Seaplane: In a place completely surrounded by water, nothing could be more fitting than a seaplane tour. These tours, operated by Island Seaplane, provide clients with a fabulous overview of Oahu and its tropical scenery. With nearly 50 years of water flying experience, Island Seaplane, Hawaii’s only seaplane operation, gives clients the thrill of taking off and landing on the waters of Keehi Lagoon.
President Obama Tours: Polynesian Adventure Tours leads clients to locations that are significant to Hawaii-born U.S. President Barack Obama. While on the tours, participants have the chance to learn about the places that helped shaped the 44th president’s life. Sites include Obama’s birthplace; his first home; his prestigious high school, Punahou; the Halona Blowhole; Sandy Beach; and local Oahu favorite, Waiola Shave Ice.
Shangri La: There’s no place in the world quite like the Honolulu home of heiress Doris Duke. Built in 1937, the architecturally significant dwelling has an impressive collection of Islamic art. During tours, clients encounter sweeping ocean views, exotic gardens and a 75-foot saltwater pool.
Haleakala: Many consider sunrise at Haleakala as a spiritual, ritualistic experience. While the dormant volcano is certainly sacred to native Hawaiians, it has nothing to do with the rising sun. Any time of day the views are extraordinary. No one knows the ins-and-outs of Haleakala better than its park rangers, who are a wealth of information.
Kanaio Coast Tour: Blue Water Rafting Adventures offers a singular opportunity for clients to explore a rarely seen part of Maui. The volcanic Kanaio Coast lays claim to a variety of remote snorkeling sites, including spinner dolphin and green sea turtle habitats. The experience of rafting into sea caves and through a massive lava arch is a rare treat.
Maui Ocean Center: This marine park is the world’s only facility dedicated to fostering understanding, wonder and respect for Hawaii’s vast amount of marine life. It houses the country’s largest living coral collection, plus green sea turtles, sharks, rays and more. The family-friendly center also focuses on the local Hawaiians’ respect for the ocean and is open 365 days a year.
HAWAII'S BIG ISLAND
Big Island Fire and Falls: KapohoKine Adventures and Sunshine Helicopters have teamed up on an adventure that begins with an aerial tour over Kilauea Volcano. The pilot navigates above surface flows, allowing clients to see lava entering the ocean and smoke rising from the landscape. After a remote landing for a swim, the trip also visits waterfalls and rainforests.
Hawaiian Vanilla Company: A culinary destination, the Hawaiian Vanilla Company operates a sustainable, organic vanillery in a picturesque rainforest on the Big Island. Fresh organic produce is grown and served at the firm’s vanilla kitchen and the company also sells beauty products, coffees and teas. It’s a one-of-a-kind way for clients to fill the senses.
Nighttime Manta Snorkel and Dive: Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides leads clients into the dreamy evening underwater world. Just before sunset, divers observe the sea’s graceful manta rays while a tethered float on the surface provides comfort and safety.