November 29, 2010 | By Merri Lou Martin
I just returned from the Hawaii Travel Exchange in Honolulu; presented by Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor magazines along with partner Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau. It focused on educating participants about Hawaii and connected us with 50 Hawaii suppliers to build valuable relationships in a unique format. Travel advisors and exhibitors were able to schedule one-on-one appointments prior to the show. We also had multiple networking event opportunities throughout to provide a more focused and productive experience.
After the three day Travel Exchange I joined a group of 30 travel advisors to Hawaii’s Big Island. Upon our arrival at Hilo airport we boarded a motor coach and departed for our first destination: Mount Kilauea volcano. I jumped off the bus and there it was right before my eyes. A huge cloud of steam spewed out of a mammoth crater. I was awe struck.
Our next stop was at the lava tubes. After a short walk through a magnificent rain forest we entered a lava tube tunnel lined with lava top, sides and floor. It was rather chilling to think I was walking in the path of a once active volcanic lava flow.
Day two on the Big Island was just as eventful with a drive through the rugged terrain of a cattle ranch to the zipline. As I stepped onto the first platform my heart was racing at the anticipation of stepping off and hanging from a cable soaring 100 feet above a rain forest canopy! WOW! What a thrilling adventure! I survived the first segment and actually looked forward to each new zipline. We zipped 4 of the 8 lines. The longest line was 2,040 feet long!
The Big Island is a must visit island. With its wide -open spaces, uncrowded natural landscapes, incomparable romantic appeal and endless opportunities for adventure, Hawaii’s Big Island welcomes visitors with their signature warmth and graciousness known as aloha.
Breakfast on the beach at the Fairmont Orchard Resort was a perfect ending to my Hawaii experience.
I can’t wait to return!