Wasabi Tours Hawaii Introduces Visitors to the Big Island’s Natural Beauty

2023 SmallBiz Editor’s Choice Award winner: This top-ranked company focuses on small-group tours and low-impact experiences, says co-founder Jay Geng.
05 23 Hb Best Of Small Business Hero 05 Wasabi Tours Hawaii
Photo: Aaron Yoshino

With more than 4,000 five-star reviews, Wasabi Tours Hawaii is ranked No. 1 on Tripadvisor for outdoor activities in Kailua-Kona.

Founded in 2006 by Jay Geng and his mother, Aling, the company provides group and private tours that showcase Hawai‘i Island’s natural beauty and history.

Geng says he has maintained the company’s resilience over the years by building partnerships and adapting with the times. The company collaborates locally with hotel concierges and Pleasant Holidays, and with online booking sites such as Expedia and Tripadvisor.

After a rough time during the pandemic, Wasabi’s revenue has almost doubled in the past year, driven partly by more family tours.

“Along with having a great reputation, we care for our employees and ensure they do a great job showing tourists the natural beauty of the island, as well as its culture and history, which allows us to thrive as visitors return,” Geng says.

What tourists are looking for in a Hawaiian adventure has evolved over the years, he says. The trend has been toward customized experiences rather than cookie-cutter tours. For Wasabi, that means a focus on small group tours.

The business supports the sustainable tourism tenets of the Hawaii Ecotourism Association. “In accordance with those values, we maintain an ongoing commitment in environmental preservation, interpretive training for staff and guest relationship management,” Geng says.

The company works to minimize its impact on nature, with tour guides emphasizing the recycling of food and drink containers and advising visitors to be aware of wild plants and animals they will see.

“We do tell them to leave everything as they see it, and not to take anything back with them,” Geng says.