HAWAIʻI – The Hawaiian Islands offer pristine beaches, unparalleled views and year-round tropical weather for meetings and incentive groups to engage with its strong cultural connection and feel the presence of the aloha spirit statewide. Groups headed to the 50th state will find tangible, hands-on ways to interact with the thriving lifestyle known to the Islands. Here are five different ways to make sure groups experience Hawaiʻi beyond its iconic views of tropical paradise.
- Engage in cultural classes found specifically in the Hawaiian Islands. Many of the event spaces within Hawaiʻi have cultural practitioners on-staff who can welcome groups with an oli (chant of greeting) to ground the meeting or event in a Hawaiian sense of place, and also provide insights when planning the events. Through the agenda, planners might want to include various activities like floral lei-making, lauhala (pandanus leaves) weaving, ʻukulele lessons for attendees musically-inclined, or hula lessons for participants eager to learn the stories and culture of Hawai‘i through indigenous Hawaiian dance. For those interested in immersing themselves further in the history and culture of these islands, guest speakers can be brought in to talk about Hawaiian concepts and values, as they pertain to the group’s needs such as experts in wayfinding, lāʻau lapaʻau (traditional medicinal practices), and hoʻoponopono (practice of reconciliation).
- Explore regenerative wellness offerings and mix sustainability and engagement into an integrated activity. While in the Hawaiian Islands, wellness-focused groups are able to weave tradition and innovation into their next event in a multitude of ways such as paʻakai (sea salt) harvesting and treatments or group wellness activities that are unique to Hawaiʻi. Cultivated in centuries of ancestral knowledge, groups learn how the people of Hawaiʻi collect paʻakai from the Pacific Ocean and incorporate the findings into a restorative spa treatment using those exact salt-collecting methods. For yoga-centered events or participants, options are endless throughout Hawaiʻi where yoga with horses, goats, during sunset on a catamaran or even with a 9-iron golf club are options to consider. Attendees on any of the Hawaiian Islands can also enjoy a lomilomi massage, a traditional Native Hawaiian massage that promotes personal harmony.
- Volunteer with non-profit organizations to give back to Hawaiʻi with Corporate Social Responsibility. As interest in ecotourism and voluntourism while traveling on business continues to grow, Hawaiʻi leads the charge by expanding the ways for corporations to give back. Visit Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawaiʻi where groups venture into lush forests and remove invasive Himalayan ginger plants to allow the native plant species within the forest to flourish under the canopy. Attendees who seek the sand, surf and sea of the Islands, can participate in morning or afternoon beach cleanups through Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi. From the mountain to the ocean, there are multiple ways for meeting and incentive groups to give back to Hawaiʻi and mālama (take care of) these incredible islands. Groups can immerse themselves in activities such as harvesting kalo from a traditional Hawaiian loʻi (irrigated agricultural terrace) or helping to restore centuries-old loko iʻa (fishpond). Group participation in these types of activities can foster creative thinking and expand individuals world view.
- Visit iconic statewide landmarks. Throughout the dozens of national parks and national historic sites within the state of Hawaiʻi, each iconic location showcases a piece of history and culture federally-preserved to continue educating those looking to learn more. For the history buffs seeking to learn more about the history of Hawaiʻi, if traveling to Oʻahu, the very first stop to make should be at the ʻIolani Palace – the only official royal residence within all of the United States. State park enthusiasts can soak in the lush flora and splendor of Maui’s ʻĪao Valley, where in 1790, King Kamehameha I clashed with Maui's army in his quest to unite the islands. For groups on Hawaiʻi Island, visit Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and witness the exciting and expansive changes to the park since Kīlauea’s eruption.
- Experience Hawaiʻi’s diverse festival and event scene celebrating the melting pot of today’s Hawaiʻi. The native people of Hawaiʻi have such an incredible story to tell and do so through countless events like Prince Lot Hula Festival, the largest non-competitive hula celebration. This festival honors Prince Lot Kapuāiwa, who later became King Kamehameha V and reprised hula in the 1850s. Hawaiʻi is also the home to a mix of various festivals and events that celebrate its diverse local culture like Honolulu Festival, a celebration of the Pacific Rim through art, culture and dance or the Hawai‘i Food and Wine Festival. For any group headed to the Hawaiian Islands, explore the many events and festivals offered and learn how Hawaiʻi is home to many ethnic groups and cultures.
As the hosts to truly one-of-a-kind opportunities, experiences and activities, the state of Hawaiʻi provides multiple ways for culture to be included into any meeting or incentive event without losing the convenience of traveling outside of the United States. For additional information or ideas on how to plan your next visit, please visit www.meethawaii.com.