But both travelers and the role of travel agents have been changing in recent times. Travelers increasingly have been seeking new kinds of adventures and experiences. The internet feeds that desire by providing a vast variety of options and choices. The internet, and especially social media, also inspires travelers to venture where they can record and post their experiences in photos and videos.
As a result of this nexus of trends, travel agents have to become more than experts on the most popular vacation destinations in the world, for example, Hawaii. Travel agents have to be able to function as consultants that can personalize traveler’s itineraries beyond what the internet can provide. And also serve as educators about protecting nature and culture in the destination, and provide safety considerations for adventuresome vacations.
That’s a real challenge for travel agents! This challenge is becoming even greater because the desire of clients for unique and immersive vacation adventures is increasing pressures on fragile ecosystems like those in Hawaii. Tropical rainforests, native Hawaiian sacred sites, awesome scenery, beaches and more, all are coming under increasing pressures from overtourism.
As a result, for individuals, couples, families and people planning weddings and other special events, the job of travel agent has become even more complicated. It no longer is enough to just know the most interesting and scenic attractions and the best prices to enjoy them. Professional travel agents have become invaluable resources for making the right decisions about all components of travel including, for example, being responsive to community concerns about traffic congestion and disruption of neighborhoods. Travel agents have become important assets for promoting responsible tourism, protecting natural resources and local culture in Hawaii and elsewhere.
This more challenging and complex role for travel agents today and in the future is made even more difficult because a great many of today’s travelers, in all generations, are seeking escapes for mind, body and soul. They want their vacations to provide transformative experiences. That’s asking a great deal from any tourist destination, even Hawaii. But the islands of Hawaii can provide an abundance of uniquely different ways to recharge one’s self. Accomplishing this goal, however, requires that visitors to the islands, and their travel agents, make smart and informed decisions that include protection of Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources. The best travel agents know Hawaii well enough to match a traveler’s needs and desires with exactly the right combinations of things to see and do. But they also need to combine personalization of Hawaii vacation planning with advice on caring for the local ecosystems that provide these transformative experiences.
Beaches of course are essential ingredients of vacations in Hawaii. But every beach on each island is not only different but these unique and fragile qualities need to be preserved. Many of these beaches are connected to resorts that are dedicated to enabling guests to make new discoveries in their surroundings on each visit. These resorts also are making commitments to protect nearby coral reefs and marine life. Increasingly Hawaii’s resorts and their hotels are trying to provide a combination of sanctuaries and immersive experiences for guests and also greater environmental and cultural awareness and sensitivity.
Activities and tours on the islands are extensions of the revitalizing magic that get-a-ways in Hawaii try to provide. Travel agents with sufficient Hawaii expertise know which places to stay and which attractions in the vicinity offer their clients the most unforgettable experiences. Are their clients interested in:
Communing with nature?
Trekking or ziplining in gorgeous rain forests?
Searching out exhilarating flights over majestic mountains?
Swimming with mantas, dolphins and other marine life?
Looking for serene sunset coastal tours in sailing yachts?
Each island in Hawaii is a paradise full of extraordinary experiences onshore and offshore waiting to be discovered. Each island also has to be viewed as a place where these authentic and meaningful experiences for visitors have to be preserved.