Lee Michael and Renata Walczuk are owners of Wild Orchid Tours, operated on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Falling in love with Hawaii Aina (land) was very easy for us. We relocated here permanently with our four children in 2002. Networking with the local people, tourism and hospitality industries has given birth to our enterprise 'Wild Orchid Tours'. We named our company after the wild Hawaiian orchids seen in the wilderness of this island's tropical rain forests. We support sustainable tourism and now we invite visitors like you to discover and experience this magnificent island on ground and hiking tours with us. Prepare yourself for a passionate, educational and entertaining tour-de-force of Madame Pele and the majesty of Mother Nature."

What is Sustainable Tourism?

The World Heritage Alliance Principles, which are based off of National Geographic's Geotourism Charter, define sustainable tourism as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place--its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents. Unlike eco-tourism, which in most cases is concerned only with environmental impacts, sustainable tourism encourages the development of practices that are environmentally, culturally, and economically sustainable.

How can you plan a great trip?

-Engage in local culture while traveling. Eat in local cafés, shop in neighborhood markets, and attend community festivals

-Hire local guides. Enrich your experience and support the local economy.

-Buy community products and services. Choose and support local businesses, community tour operators and artisans.

-Tread lightly. Follow designated trails, respect caretakers, and do not remove archaeological or biological treasures from sites.

-Learn a few words of the local language and use them.

-Refrain from aggressive bargaining for souvenirs and don't short-change on tips for valuable services.

-Respect the natural environment. Reduce, reuse, and recycle.