Clients Are Looking for More than a Beach

The most rewarding trip is one that gives back. Malama Hawaii

Hawaii has made it its mission to imbue a vacation with a sense of place. A sense of the local people. And their culture. The result is a unique experience which gives the traveller a much deeper connection than that of a tourist.

It’s called Malama Hawaii.

Malama means “take care of” the land, the ocean, the wildlife, the community.

Malama means “take care of” the land, the ocean, the wildlife, the community. It’s an invitation to rethink what it means to travel and take care of our Earth, each other and ourselves.

Hilo Waterfalls
Hilo Waterfalls Photo: Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB) / Dustin Lefevre

The past year has highlighted our global interconnectedness and pushed us to reflect on where, how, and why we travel—especially in Canada, as regenerative tourism gains strength within the travel market.

“Canada has always been a strong market for Hawaii, and Canadian visitors maintain a deep affinity for culture and sustainability. We believe that the COVID-19 pandemic has made Canadians more aware of their environmental footprint in their everyday lives, including when they travel. Also, the younger generations of travellers are more aware of how their individual activities impact the world, both positively and negatively,” says Hawaii Tourism Authority Chief Brand Officer Kalani Kaanaana.

As Canadians venture out again, they’re thinking more than ever about how they can give back to the places that give so much to them.

Volunteers harvest kalo (taro) from a loi
Volunteers harvest kalo (taro) from a loi. Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Heather Goodman

“Canadian visitors enjoy meeting like-minded residents while travelling in Hawaii, as well as other travellers with whom they can share their experiences and create a positive domino effect across the world,” Kaanaana says. “We want to increase awareness about how fragile our environment is and how travellers can be a part of the solution to protect it.”

The Malama Hawaii program is designed to deliver just that, reaching the mindful traveller with regenerative experiences for all activity levels.

Through Malama Hawaii, partners in the Hawaiian islands collaborate with local non-profit organizations to create immersive volunteer programs for travellers—and offer valuable perks when they participate.

“The Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Malama Hawaii program is a statewide initiative involving over 100 industry partners and local organizations offering inspiring volunteer opportunities that help to protect our natural resources and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture,” Kaanaana says.

Sam Ohu Gon of The Nature Conservancy holds a native plant for replanting
Sam Ohu Gon of The Nature Conservancy holds a native plant for replanting. Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Heather Goodman

Volunteer opportunities through Malama Hawaii range from reforestation and tree planting, to helping local farmers, self-directed beach clean-ups and even crafting Hawaiian quilts for elders in need. There’s a vacation vocation for everyone.

The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, for example, is offering a complimentary fifth night when guests volunteer with the Pacific Whale Foundation by picking up litter on any Maui beach. Over on Hawaii Island, your clients can receive their fourth night free and daily breakfast for two at the Fairmont Orchid for planting trees with the Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative.

All experiences and participating partners can be found on Go Hawaii, the State of Hawaii’s official tourism destination website.

This idea of regenerative travel goes a step beyond sustainable travel. And in Hawaii, it’s way more than just a pandemic-driven buzzword.

“It is our kuleana (responsibility) to educate visitors about Hawaii’s values and the important connection between our people and place,” Kaanaana says.

“By encouraging visitors to travel mindfully and participate in Malama Hawaii experiences, we hope they will have a more enriching vacation and gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for our island home.”

“Our overarching desire is that visitors travelling to Hawaii with purpose will walk away with a long-lasting understanding of what it means to malama our Earth, each other and ourselves,” Kaanaana says.

One, Kaanaana hopes, they will carry with them back home and for future travels.


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