Since it opened in 2002, EMI Hawaii has helped groups and FITs discover the beauty and culture of the Aloha State, one island at a time.
“We work directly with tour operators and travel agents bringing their groups to Hawaii,” says Mary Jo O’Neal, EMI’s director of sales and marketing. “We handle all the land arrangements so our travel partners don’t have to, and we pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service throughout the planning and execution of the tours for the groups traveling to our island paradise.”
The company offers a number of packages that blend sightseeing on one or more islands with local cultural experiences. Over the years, it has organized hundreds of student tours of Hawaii, including performance-based, science-themed and history-focused programs.
“We realize that our tour might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these students, many coming from across the U.S.,” adds O’Neal. “For a band or choir, performing at Pearl Harbor and other historical locations around the island introduces different cultural experiences than they have on the mainland.”
In addition to taking the stage, performance groups also can take part in university-level workshops, enjoy cultural exchanges with Hawaiian bands and choirs, march in local parades and learn to hula during their student tours of Hawaii.
EMI also has developed a series of voluntourism offerings that allow travelers to add more meaning to their vacations. One of the activities is the Adopt a Beach program, which allows the group to clean up marine debris in order to keep the beaches and oceans healthy, and another connects volunteers with at-risk youth through a surfing ministry.
“Hawaii Global Voluntourism was created to provide an opportunity for groups to make a difference in people’s lives and to give back to the community they are visiting,” O’Neal says.
Top photo: Students taking hula lessons at Hawaii's Kualoa Ranch
Photos by EMI Hawaii