ANNUAL SUSTAINABLE TOURISM HĀLĀWAI
OF THE YEAR
OF THE YEAR
OF THE YEAR
OF THE YEAR
Congratulations Kipu Ranch Adventures - 2019 Sustainable Tour Operator of the Year Kipu Ranch Adventures, based on the island of Kauai, is a leader in sustainable tourism. In addition, we would like to congratulate our Sustainable Tour Guides of the Year and our 40 Certified Sustainable Tour Operators. Check back for information about the 2020 Awards Luncheon.
This award aims to recognize Hawaii sustainable tour companies who demonstrate, through their business, a commitment to environmental stewardship, cultural sensitivity, community enhancement, and educational content. These operations provide excellent examples of how the principles of sustainable tourism can be put into practice here in Hawaii. Click here for details on how operations are selected for Tour Operator of the Year.
Every Kipu Ranch Adventures achieved its Sustainable Tour Operator Certification in 2016. In the past three years, they have continually dedicated resources and focused efforts on improving their business for the good of the local community, natural resources, and cultural heritage of Kauai. Notable sustainability efforts include the hiring of a Plant and Cultural Resources Specialist, on-going staff training and development (including Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death and Hawaiian cultural training), propagation of native Hawaiian plants, reduction of single-use plastic food service items, and support of over 80 community organizations, including raising over $56,000 for Shrinerʻs Hospital.
Launched in 2010, Hawaiian Paddle Sports has been a model sustainable tour company from the island of Maui. Every tour with Hawaiian Paddle Sports starts with kuleana (responsibility) – if we have the ability to enjoy the ocean, then we also have the added responsibility to protect the ocean ecosystem. HPS takes care to minimize its environmental footprint, has eliminated single-use plastics from its operations, and supports local organizations through monthly volunteer events.
Trilogy Excursions is Maui’s oldest sailing catamaran tour company and has been setting the standard for sustainable tourism practices since its inception in 1973. From being the first boat company to not dump bathroom waste in the water and instead pump out on land, to establishing the day-use mooring systems, instead of dropping anchors that destroy vulnerable coral reefs, the owners have had the wisdom and vision to incorporate sustainability into Trilogy tours and inspire personal conviction to be stewards of the environment.
For over 20 years, Valley Isle Excursions has offered environmentally, culturally and socially responsible guided road tours on the island of Maui. From the beginning, VIE has focused on highly efficient vehicles, driving practices, and maintenance. Sustainable practices include an oil bottle draining system, re-engineered ice and water machines, motion activated lighting, and reflective floors to keep energy usage low. Their local guides share stories and history of the Hawaiian culture and perpetuating the concepts of malama ‘aina.
One of only 1000 “Accredited Benefit Corporations” in the world, Hawaiian Legacy Tours has planted more than a quarter million endemic koa, sandalwood and other species on the slopes of Mauna Kea in last 5 years. They scored in the top 10% of all B Corps for their environmental impact, and partnered with more than 60 for-profit and non-profit companies to help plant hundreds of acres of endemic trees and raise funds for more than 350 charities worldwide.
With this award, STAH honors the tour guides of Hawaii who best embody the core assets of quality ecotourism: effective interpretation, conservation of natural resources and authentic cultural experiences.
Oftentimes, tour guides are primary connection between Hawaii’s guests and it’s history, culture, and environment. Their ability extends far beyond making a good mai tai or telling funny jokes. Tour guides are an important part of interpreting the history, cultural, and natural resources of Hawai’i. Sustainable Tour Guides of the Year are recognized for their commitment to Hawaii’s environment, community, and culture – all while keeping guests safe. Winners represent a new wave for Hawaii’s tourism – certified professionals who have honed their skills and knowledge base to connect visitors to an authentic experience.
Maui Sustainable Tour Guide 2019
Dani has worked for Trilogy Excursions since 2016 as crew, captain, and most recently Operations Manager. She holds a Masters degree in Marine Biology and is a published research author. At Trilogy, she has helped restructure the staff training curriculum to focus on safety, marine science, conservation, and Hawaiian culture. This past summer, she also helped develop and lead Trilogyʻs Keiki O Ke Kai Ocean Adventure Camp for youth ages 6-12. She volunteers with Mauiʻs Monk Seal Response Team, Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund, NOAAʻs Humpback Whale Research team, and the Hawaiian Marine Mammal Response Network – which recently helped recover and release several Pygmy Killer Whales that stranded on Mauiʻs south shore. This past spring, Dani spent 3 weeks in the Arctic Ice Field installing acoustic monitors to better understand the migration movements of narwhals and belugas.
Hawai’i Island Sustainable Tour Guide 2019
Originally from Missouri, Michael was drawn to Hawaii by the sheer number of outdoor adventuring options. He has worked as a zipline guide for KapohoKine Adventures for the past 5 years and is known as the company’s “Smooth Operations Manager”. Michael’s leadership, especially as it relates to zipline safety and protocol, has helped improve the company’s culture of safety. Michael embraces his kuleana to conserve Hawaii’s precious resources by living a minimalist lifestyle. Every day he commutes 60 miles roundtrip via bicycle. At home, he lives in an off-grid converted shipping container, lovingly created from up-cycled materials. In addition, he is a part time macadamia nut farmer and an Ironman Triathlete. He is certified in Wilderness First Aid and Lifeguarding and is an adventurer in the truest sense of the word.
Kauaʻi Sustainable Tour Guide 2019
Jeremiah has been working as an adventure guide for over 20 years. In 2002, he received a bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Education with an emphasis on Adventure Education and a minor in Native American Studies from Northland College in Northern Wisconsin. For the past 10 years, Jeremiah has been guiding in Hawaii. He is the owner of Kaua’i Hiking Tours and has worked to expand Hawaiian cultural and skills training for local guides throughout Kauai. Jeremiah volunteers with the Nāpali Coast Ohana, Kauai Resource and Conservation Program, friends of the Kalalau Trail, Team Rubicon, and the Makauwahi Cave Reserve. He is also a member of Nā Ala Hele’s Advisory Council. In addition, Jeremiah is a State of Hawaii Certified Professional Tour Guide, certified as a Wilderness First Responder, and serves on STAH’s Communications and Outreach committee.
Oʻahu Sustainable Tour Guide 2019
In 2015, Chad graduated with his Bachelorʻs of Science in Marine Science from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. He moved to Hawaii in 2016 where he joined Kailua Beach Adventures as a kayak guide. He’s highly involved with the Department of Land and Natural Resourcesʻ offshore islet restoration program in Kailua Bay. Through DLNR, he volunteers to maintain habitats in their most natural state, while also surveying and tagging seabirds. In addition, Chad is a certified docent for the Hawaii Marine Animal Response program. Chad was promoted to Guide Supervisor and Trainer in 2018. His skills and experience ensure that his team and the program exceed the sustainability mission of Kailua Beach Adventures. Chad is additionally a Certified lifeguard and SCUBA Rescue Diver.
Travel writers can be the traveler’s best friend when planning a visit to Hawaii. Their articles in travel sections of newspapers, or in in-flight magazines or books, can lead you to unexpected and delightful surprises. The Sustainable Tourism Association of Hawaii honors travel writers each year with the Travel Writer of the Year award. This award goes to a writer who shares the values of ecotourism with readers through newspaper or magazine articles on personal travel experiences or in guidebooks.
Will uses narrative-based storytelling to inspire deeper, immersive travel so locals and visitors can explore Hawai‘i with a sense of understanding, appreciation, and respect. He has been a guest travel expert on Hawai‘i News Now, KHON, KITV, and Tech Talk Hawai‘i. He is a former assistant editor at Conde Nast and his travel-related contributions have appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR, Travel Channel, Outside Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, Men’s Journal, AAA, TravelAge West, Travel Weekly, Paste Magazine, Alaska Airlines Magazine, and Elevation Outdoors.
Shannon is an independent writer and editor based on the island of Maui. She covers travel, science, culture, and food for publications including BBC Travel, Smithsonian.com, Honolulu Magazine, Hana Hou! (the Hawaiian Airlines Magazine) and Spirituality & Health.
Having traveled to 65 countries, in addition to 49 U.S. states, Kyle still considers Upcountry, Maui to be the most beautiful place in the world. His love for the islands has been featured in publications such as Journey, Maui No Ka ‘Oi, and Escape. Kyle also authored the Moon guidebook to Maui, Moloka‘i, and Lana‘i.
Paul Wood of Maui, Freelance, has been featured recently in Hana Hou magazine among others, based topics for local and Mainland magazines. He prefers to write about wild creatures and places, also about the peculiarities that make Hawai‘i a much more interesting community than the “paradise” evoked by the clichés of tourism. In 2001 Fodor’s/Random House published his Escape to the Hawaiian Islands, which was a finalist for a Lowell Thomas Award.
A native of Kauai, Jocelyn Fujii grew up with an innate appreciation of nature, the environment and the importance of neighborhoods and communities in island life. Her articles on Hawaii have appeared in major local, national and international publications, and her more than a dozen books have covered topics ranging from lifestyle and the arts to natural history, the environment and small family businesses. She believes that Hawaii’s greatest assets are its cultural and environmental treasures.
In 2010, Rita Ariyoshi was honored by the Sustainable Tourism Association as the Travel Write of the Year 2010. Rita has been one of the leading travel writers whose perspective in journalism is mindful and respectful of Hawaii’s natural environment and cultures. Her articles present valuable information to our readers about ecotourism.
Joan was honored by the Sustainable Tourism Association as its 2009 Travel Writer of the Year. Joan lives on the island of Kauai and writes about a variety of topics ranging from wildlife through nature and local pursuits. In the 21 years she’s lived on the island of Kauai, Joan Conrow has never once gotten a case of rock fever. But she’s definitely learned to slow down and enjoy the marvels of nature, an approach that’s conducive to observing the birds, whales, turtles, monk seals and other resident and migratory wildlife that call Hawaii home. When she isn’t outside looking or gardening, she’s at her desk writing articles for a variety of regional and national publications, while keeping up with her personal blog. Follow her on http://kauaieclectic.blogspot.com/.
In May of 2008 the Sustainable Tourism Association honored Lynn Cook as Travel Writer for the Year 2008. A writer for numerous travel and other publications, Lynn Cook has kept visitors and residents informed about a myriad of topics describing Hawaiian culture and natural sites.
Michael Shapiro won the Travel Writer of the Year award in 2007. Since that time, he has become the Editor for Hana Hou magazine, which is the in-flight magazine for Hawaiian Airlines. Michael is one of our favorites because he writes about subjects that local people want to know more about when they travel to another island for a vacation.
Cheryl writes a weekly column for the Sunday edition of the Honolulu Star Advertiserentitled Hawaii’s Back Yard where she features exciting and fascinating tours from many of Sustainable Tourism Association members, as well as festivals and various visitor attractions for the local resident as well as visitors. To find these great columns you will have to click on Back Issues, S for Sunday, then on the right side of the page under Columns, look for Hawaii’s Back Yard. You will only find Hawaii’s Back Yard in the Sunday Edition. Click there and be delighted. Cheryl was Sustainable Tourism Association’s Travel Writer of the Year for 2006.
Michele is a freelance writer currently based in Washington who advocated for sustainable travel and ecotourism early on. She was awarded the 2004 Travel Writer of the Year award for her numerous articles on Hawaii’s unique cultures.
This author has a comprehensive guide book Travel Unlimited and an excellent web magazine, Travel With A Challenge where you can browse for hours learning about wonderful travel adventures all over the world. After you click on the link, you will be taken to the Number One page in the Travel Themes section where there are numerous articles on Hawaii’s many and varied offerings.