Next week, my 9-year-old son and I are heading west from Texas to spend 10 full days in the Hawaiian islands, all because of blogging and Twitter.
Through my tweets, writing and particularly my travel blogs, I’ve gotten to know Christine Lu of Cilantro Media and several people who work in tourism for the state of Hawaii. They’ve gotten to know me and my enthusiasm for social media in tourism.
To connect digital creatives with a beautiful place, the Hawaii Tourism Authority is bringing a group of prominent bloggers to Hawaii to “talk story” about what we find on Kauai, Maui, the Big Island and Oahu. I’ll be the blogger who mostly covers family travel.
The tour is called So Much More Hawaii (full Web site up in the next day or so. Meantime, add your best pics to our Flickr pool.) (Update – here is the So Much More Hawaii blog/microsite that includes our content plus that of local bloggers.)
I was on Christine Lu’s China 2.0 tour in November 2008, and social media is a common theme in her life for creating those connections. She writes:
“The upcoming ‘So Much More Hawaii’ tour is meant as a proof of concept that through social media, first-hand insight of Hawaii can create content and outreach that influences those to understand Hawaii better and want to visit the islands…key bloggers in different vertical niche markets [will] experience the islands as a group, with separate sector focuses. Each one has a sector they are known for covering and their visit to Hawaii is meant to share this with their audience.”
Other bloggers on the tour include:
- Rick Calvert, founder, Blog World and New Media Expo – a huge annual blogging conference. He’ll cover the islands as a business and convention destination.
- Leah Lamb, covering eco-tourism and green travel for Current TV. I know she must be intrigued by Hawaii’s recent efforts to invest in clean and renewable energy resources.
- Jim Turner, OneByOne Media and host of the Social Mediasphere show on Blog Talk Radio.
- Shira Lazar, blogging on solo travel for Jaunted.com, the pop culture travel guide.
- Aric S. Queen, producer, writer, podcaster and value travel blogger for the UpTake travel site.
- Mark Tafoya, our tour foodie blogger. He’s a professional chef and co-founder of the The Gilded Fork Home of Culinary Media Network.
- L.P. “Neenz” Faleafine, a native Hawaiian, Chief Evangelist for Alltop.com and founder of Hawaii-based Pono Media.
As we all know, the economy is down around the world. The Hawaii tourism industry is in crisis right now and the outlook is grim. I applaud Christine and others for seeking new, more effective ways to use social media to showcase the islands for potential visitors.
Here are some of the blog posts already online about So Much More Hawaii:
- Chef Mark to see “So Much More Hawaii.”
- Ryan at Hawaii Blog talks about the social media tour Hawaii
- Damon writes that the Mainland bloggers are coming!
Keep an eye not only on this blog but also on the Perceptive Travel Blog, my Twitter stream and the @HawaiiHTA stream (we’re using hashtag #HawaiiHTA.)
Just So You Know Disclaimer: The Hawaii Tourism Authority through Cilantro Media is paying my way to Hawaii, and also paying most of my expenses while I am there including lodging. I am contributing to my son’s expenses. The point of the trip is to bring experienced bloggers and communicators to the islands to talk about what we see; my primary focus will be on travel with kids. No one has told me that I cannot post negative information. No one has told me that I must say positive things. I will be as objective as I can possibly be.
It looks like fun to travel around different countries.
Speaking of hawaii, its golden anniversary is coming soon.