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A bunch of bloggers will show you So Much More Hawaii

Sunset Ke'e Beach Kauai (courtesy jaybergesen at Flickr CC)I’m happy to announce that my 9-year-old son and I are getting on a plane next week to visit the Hawaiian islands.

Vacation? Uh, no. Work.

Really.

A lot of tourism organizations are starting to see the value of the social Web and social media-based content, and the Hawaii Tourism Authority is no exception.

They are sponsoring a group of bloggers to come to Hawaii, look behind the scenes and the standard tourism glitter, and show our readers a more local-flavored “So Much More Hawaii” (a dedicated site for our tour content is launching in a day or so.)

Visionary tour organizer Christine Lu is big on cross-border cultural understanding (I was on her 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.”

My focus will be primarily family travel, of course.  Other bloggers on the tour include:

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.

Since my first Navy ship was homeported in Pearl Harbor, I feel an affinity for our 50th state and I look forward to blogging about it for my readers.

Here are some of the blog posts already online about So Much More Hawaii:

Keep an eye not only on this blog but also on the Perceptive Travel Blog, my Twitter stream (we’re using hashtag #HawaiiHTA,) the Flickr photo Group pool for the event and my new personal blog on tourism and the social Web, Sheila’s Guide to the Good Stuff.

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 towards 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.