Adventure and sustainability are two travel trends that groups continue to seek out in a destination.
Luckily for meeting planners, there are several destinations that focus on both. Here are five eco-friendly destinations that cater to adventurous groups while also offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences that make attendees feel more connected to nature and the message of sustainability.
Costa Rica’s natural experiences—29 national parks, 19 wildlife refuges and eight biological reserves—lay the foundation for an abundance of waterfall hikes and rainforest zipline rides that have long attracted visitors in search of ecotourism. And in recent years, the country has upped its meetings game, especially with the launch of its new convention center later this spring, which, of course, touts solar panels and other energy-efficient measures.
With a similar lush, island landscape, Hawaii also caters to the adventurous at heart. On the Big Island, a helicopter ride with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters will provide attendees a straight-from-Jurassic Park exploration of the island’s volcanoes and waterfalls, while Hawaiian Legacy Tours gives attendees the opportunity to plant their own koa trees. One thing’s for sure: The “aloha” spirit will give attendees a strong connection to the place during a traditional luau or spiritual chant.
Norway’s beautiful fjords provide the perfect backdrop for a day of adventure in Bergen. Just one incentive program organized by the CVB takes attendees on a drive along the fjords, lakes and mountains. Stopping in Gudvangen, they will explore white caves by the Nærøyfjord as well as visit the small farm Styvi, where a luncheon will be provided using local ingredients.
California’s Yosemite National Park brings the best of the Sierra Nevada mountains to life. Waterfalls, giant sequoia trees and deep valleys encourage attendees to hike, raft, swim or simply take in the views. At the center of it all is Half Dome Village, which provides meeting space for up to 400 attendees as well as an outdoor amphitheater, while Big Trees Lodge, Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite and The Majestic Yosemite Hotel are other options for groups.
The Canadian Rockies make British Columbia an ideal adventure destination any time of year. While skiing in Whistler is certainly popular in winter, mountain biking, river rafting and alpine climbing attract groups in the summer. Of course, adventures along British Columbia’s west coast such as hiking Vancouver Island’s West Coast Trail provide even more nature exploration.