Travel agents ‘race’ to learn about Hawaii

POIPU — For New Zealand travel agents, the great race started in Auckland, New Zealand Tuesday night.

Fashioned after a popular television show, The Great Race pitted teams of New Zealand travel agents through challenges as the visitors were familiarized with Hawaii.

“The race started on the plane in Auckland,” said Karl Sheridan, videographer for the tour. “On Oahu, the race continued as soon as the plane landed.”

Andrew Harrison, event coordinator, said teams worked through challenges in paddling, beach volleyball, forming and painting surfboards from blanks, and even started fire using coconut fibers.

Those events only served to warm up the teams that boarded an inter-island flight to Kauai. They arrived Thursday afternoon and promptly boarded chartered Blue Hawaiian helicopters.

The helicopter tour set the stage for the Wailua Falls challenge where teams had to find clues guiding them to the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa.

“This is only the second day of the four-day tour,” Garrison said. “They have a lot more to experience.”

Diann Hartman, spokeswoman for the Grand Hyatt, was joined by Cindy Kauanui in greeting teams before a special Air New Zealand standard set up at the resort’s entrance.

“This is such a novel way to do a fam tour,” Hartman said. “It’s fun and memorable for the travel agents.”

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