The Hawaii Ecotourism Association will begin its Ecotour Certification Program starting with a public meeting held on Maui followed later with meetings on Hawaii, Oahu and Kauai. The goal of this program is to give visitors and residents more information when choosing an ecotour, ensuring the tour is right for them, good for the community and good for Hawaii’s environment.
The Ecotour Certification Program marks the culmination of efforts between the Hawaii Ecotourism Association, the University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “We live in a unique place, like nowhere else in the world,” says Hawaii Ecotourism Association president, Chris Colvin, ‘For that reason we felt that existing certification programs needed to progress, ensuring the sustainability of Hawaii’s dynamic mix of nature and culture. We needed a solution that would ultimately enhance the visitor experience.’
The Ecotour Certification pilot program will begin with a limited number of operators being evaluated on criteria and from these initial evaluations, the Program will refine the certification process. Public discussion will begin on Maui at the Pacific Whale Foundation Discovery Center in Maalaea on June 14th at 5:30 pm, followed by a short presentation by an HEA board member and by Dr. Linda J. Cox, a Community Economic Development Specialist with the UH Cooperative Extension Service. The second meeting will be on Hawaii Island at the NELHA Gateway Center in Kailua-Kona on June 16th at 5:30 pm. Additional meetings on Oahu and Kauai will be announced at www.hawaiiecotourism.org.
About Hawaii Ecotourism Association
Since 1994, HEA has been committed to diversifying Hawaii’s travel industry through the advocacy of ecotourism to protect Hawaii’s unique natural environment and native culture. A broad membership base composed of tour and lodging operators, travel writers and community and environmental organizations fulfills HEA’s goal of promoting visitor experiences that are environmentally and culturally sensitive. For more information visit www.hawaiiecotourism.org.