14 Tour Companies Earn Hawai‘i's First-Ever Green Certification

14 Tour Companies Earn Hawai‘i's First-Ever Green Certification

Hawaii Ecotourism CertificationHONOLULU – With the goal of encouraging more "green" tourism statewide, the Hawai‘i Ecotourism Association (HEA) today announced that 14 companies (list below) have earned the distinction of being Hawai‘i’s first-ever Certified Ecotour Operators.

 

"We applaud these 14 ecotourism companies for their commitment to environmental sustainability and urge other tourism providers throughout Hawai‘i to follow their lead," said Chris Colvin, HEA president.

 

HEA developed the ecotourism certification program, the first in Hawai‘i, to help educate commercial tour operators on the responsible use of natural and cultural resources, support conservation and sustainability practices, and raise awareness among visitors.

 

Colvin added, "The purpose of certification is to support, promote, educate, and strengthen on-the-ground tourism practices with respect to honoring and caring for our natural and cultural resources, resulting in better resource conservation, higher visitor satisfaction, and more community support for the visitor industry."

 

GOLD
Atlantis Adventures – O‘ahu, Maui, Hawai‘i
Trilogy Excursions – Maui
Volcano Discovery – Hawai‘i

 

SILVER
Hawaiian Paddle Sports – Maui
Hike Maui – Maui
Jack’s Diving Locker – Hawai‘i
Kayak Kaua‘i – Kaua‘i
Kualoa Ranch – O‘ahu
Pacific Islands Institute – O‘ahu, Maui, Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i, Moloka‘i
Pacific Whale Foundation – Maui
Wild Side Specialty Tours – O‘ahu

 

BRONZE
Annette’s Adventures – O‘ahu
Bike Hawai‘i – O‘ahu
Hawai‘i Forest & Trail – Hawai‘i

 

HEA presented each honoree with an official seal of certification that can be publicly displayed at their place of business, on their website, and in their marketing materials to show proof of their commitment to sustainability and support for Hawai‘i's environment. In addition, Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz presented each honoree with a proclamation of recognition.

 

Earning the ecotourism certification by the 14 inaugural awardees was based on the following requirements designed by HEA to assess the extent of their "green" tour operations and environmental preservation efforts.

  • Provide a direct, personal experience of nature for customers
  • Have a written sustainability plan that guides the applicant’s operations and demonstrates commitment to HEA ecotourism principles
  • Contribute to conservation outcomes annually to statewide and/or local community-based environmental conservation initiatives
  • Contribute to the local communities in which the applicant operates
  • Demonstrate effective management on their operating principles regarding the environment, interpretation, consumer evaluation, marketing, and staff

Each company has been certified as a Gold, Silver, or Bronze honoree as determined by a scoring system evaluating their ecotourism operations and principles. Gold honorees are certified for a three-year period. Silver and Bronze honorees can make adjustments to their operations and reapply next year for Gold status.

 

The ecotourism certification program was developed with funding from a Hawai‘i Tourism Authority natural resources award. In-kind support was contributed by the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, with Professor Linda Cox serving as project manager.

About Hawai‘i Ecotourism Association

Since 1994, HEA has been committed to diversifying Hawai‘i's travel industry through the advocacy of ecotourism to protect Hawai‘i’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, please visit www.hawaiiecotourism.org.

 

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MEDIA CONTACT

Patrick Dugan, Senior Vice President

McNeil Wilson Communications

Email: Patrick.'Dugan[at]AnthologyGroup.com

Phone: +1 (808) 539-3411 / +1 (808) 741-2712

 

 

>> See Hawai'i Ecotourism Association's member profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

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