WAIKIKI - Seventeen of Hawaii's top tourism workers and events were honored in this year's Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association (HLTA) awards, at an event in partnership with aio Media on March 1. The categories included hospitality, food, activities, events, and individual contributions.

“The future of Hawaii's economy depends on the continued collaborations between local businesses and the lasting relationships we build with each other,” said Susan Eichor, president of aio Media. “We are delighted to stand with HLTA in recognizing the very best Hawaii lodging and tourism companies that exemplify the spirit of aloha for both locals and visitors alike.” 

“Under a single spotlight, the aio Media Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Awards bring together Kalakaua Avenue and Bishop Street, the diverse Hawaiian Islands, and our many business interests – all to celebrate the visitor industry and its invaluable contributions to our progress.  We are all in this together, and these awards showcase the best of the industry; its innovators and leaders, and what gives Hawai?i its enduring appeal,” said Mufi Hannemann, President & CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association.

The winners are:

Tourism Legacy Award
To recognize an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to Hawaii’s tourism industry.

Dr. Chuck Yim Gee, Dean Emeritus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s School of Travel Industry Management
Dr. Gee, TIM School’s longest-serving dean (1976–1999), has been awarded many accolades, including induction into the Pacific Asia Travel Association Gallery of Legends, the Award of Excellence for Tourism Education from the National Tourism Administration of the People’s Republic of China, Travel Industry Association of America’s Hall of Leaders Award, State of Hawaii Manager of the Year, and Taiwan Lifetime Achievement Award, to name a few.

When the U.S. National Tourism Administration was established in 1982, he served three consecutive terms under the Carter, Reagan, and Bush administrations.  He co-authored the World Trade Organization’s Declaration of the Universal Right to Travel and the Declaration of Male on Sustainable Tourism and the Environment. He has been an honorary professor at Nankai University, the Beijing International Studies University, Huaqiao University, and Shanghai Normal University.

Dr. Gee has served as chair of the State Tourism Policy Council, Tourism Education Council, Mayor’s Committee on the Revitalization of Waikiki, and Mayor’s Asia Pacific Environmental Summit, was the founding chairman of the Governor’s Tourism Training Council and helped the State of Hawaii host the PATA annual meeting at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. This former member of the University of Hawaii's Board of Regents has published more than 30 journal articles and ten books, including the third edition of World of Resorts: From Development to Management.

Leadership in the Industry – Contribution to Tourism by an Individual
Cha Thompson, Tihati Productions

Leadership in the Industry – Cultural Advisor
Vicky Holt Takamine, kumu hula and Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture

Leadership in the Industry – Young Achiever
Keri Brown, Director of Revenue Management for the Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger

Leadership in the Industry – Outstanding Individual in Music & Entertainment
Raiatea Helm, singer and musician

Agritourism– Agriculture Tourism Destination
Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

Agritourism – Farmers Market
Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market

Best Tourism Events – Agriculture Event Using Locally Grown Products
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

Best Tourism Events – Heritage and Cultural Event
Kauai Chocolate & Coffee Festival

Attractions/Activities – Achievement in Sustainability
Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

Attractions/Activities – Activity or Adventure Company
Kualoa Ranch

Attractions/Activities – Major Tour & Transport Operators
Roberts Hawaii

Excellence in Food and Beverage – Casual Dining
Side Street Inn

Excellence in Food and Beverage – Fine Dining
Morton's the Steakhouse

Best Hotels/Accommodations – Boutique Hotel

Best Hotels/Accommodations – Small Hotel
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina

Best Hotels/Accommodations – Large Hotel
Outrigger Waikiki Beach Hotel

Best Hotels/Accommodations – Luxury Accommodations
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

For more information, visit www.Hawaiimagazine.com/hlta or see the recap at www.Hawaiibusiness.com/hlta-awards-2019.