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Hawaiian Culture Being Showcased at the Hawaii Tourism Conference, Sept. 26-30

September 16, 2016 Conferences No Comments Email Email
The Native Hawaiian culture and how its legacy continues to strengthen the experience of living in and visiting the Hawaiian Islands in modern times, will be a major point of emphasis at the 2016 Hawaii Tourism Conference, Sept. 26-30 (

Under the theme Transforming Tourism Together, the conference is being presented by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and hosted at the world-class Hawaii Convention Center.
Kalani Kaanaana, HTA director of Hawaiian cultural affairs, noted that in keeping with the theme’s spirit, there are 10 conference sessions – the most ever – focused on how the Native Hawaiian culture is transforming the way people experience the Hawaii of today (schedule below).
“Anyone who is committed to seeing the host culture of these islands thrive within the broad scope of Hawaii tourism will be interested in the topics being discussed,” said Kaanaana. “The sessions will be inspirational, educational and reinforce our cultural connections to the state’s largest industry.”
Kaanaana added that the Native Hawaiian culture is at the foundation of everything HTA does in promoting the Hawaii travel experience. “The cultural traditions of the Native Hawaiian people are what makes our islands such a desirable and welcoming destination to travelers worldwide.”
Altogether, the conference will feature 60 sessions covering a wide variety of topics important to the future of travel and the Hawaiian Islands. In addition to Hawaiian culture, other topics being addressed include the environment, climate change, technology, global marketing, and LGBT travel.
For more information and to register for the conference, visit are available for groups, educators and students. Optional island tours are available on the pre-conference opening day, Sept. 26.
Schedule of Hawaiian Culture Sessions
Sept. 27
Details:         Hawaiian Culture in Retail, 9:45 – 11:15 a.m., Room 313
Moderator:   Kalani Kaanaana, Hawaii Tourism Authority
Speakers:     Maile Meyer, Na Mea Hawaii; Kaponoai Molitau, Native Intelligence; Monte McComber, Royal Hawaiian Center
Description: Hear unique success stories from Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs on triumphs and challenges in the retail sector, with a focus on international consumers and the expanding marketplace.
Details:         Cultural Festivals: A Formula for Success, 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Room 316
Moderator:   Kalani Kaanaana, Hawaii Tourism Authority
Speakers:     Lawrence “Bo” Campos, Queen Liliuokalani Canoe Race; Melissa McFerrin Warrack, Koloa Plantation Days
Description: Turning grassroots gatherings into signature events with real community and economic impact.
Details:         From Family Lands to Landmark Destinations, 2:30 – 3:45 p.m., Room 311
Moderator:   Pohai Ryan, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association
Speakers:     John Morgan, Kualoa Ranch; Lani Weigert, Hawaii AgriTourism; Matt Yamashita, Sons of Halawa; Pilipo Solatorio, Sons of Halawa
Description: The evolution of Hawaii’s ohana farms into sustainable tourism practices is a unique legacy. Learn how to overcome challenges particular to keeping a property viable while turning them into destination opportunities.
Details:         Museums, Monuments and Mansions: The Transformation of Hawaiian History into Destination Attractions, 4:00 – 5:15 p.m., Room 312
Moderator:    Kainoa Daines, Oahu Visitors Bureau
Speakers:     Albert “Chucky Boy” Chock, Kauai Museum; Mahealani Bernal, Queen Emma Summer Palace; Sunshine Chip, Hulihee Palace
Description: Learn about the process and community support that set a model for transforming historic properties into Hawaiian cultural cornerstones.
Sept. 28
Details:         Sharing Moolelo of Resorts, 9:45 – 11:15 a.m., Room 313
Moderator:   Kuuipo Kumukahi, Hyatt Regency of Waikiki
Speakers:     Daniel Kaniela Akaka, Mauna Lani Resort; Clifford Naeole, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua; Kahulu De Santos, Aulani, A Disney Resort
Description: The importance of embodying and honoring the Hawaiian sense of place in creating exceptional visitor experiences.
Details:         Cultural Heritage Tourism and Native Peoples, 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Room 316
Moderator:   Pohai Ryan, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association
Speakers:     Edward Hall, AIANTA/BIA; Aimee D. Awonohopay, AIANTA; Maurice Manawatu, Maori Tours Kaikouru
Description: Collaborate on the growing interest in cultural heritage tourism and native communities, and how to share it with the world.
Details:         Aloha Today and Beyond, 1:45 – 2:45 p.m., Room 312
Moderator:   State Senator Brickwood Galuteria
Speakers:     Peter Apo, OHA Trustee; John De Fries, County of Hawaii, Office of Economic Development
Description: This session examines the vision of Dr. George Kanahele and the role of Hawaiian culture in the tourism sector. The second portion of the session will attempt to define the next generation of aloha by John De Fries.
Details:         Kukakuka: A Talk Story with Hawaii’s Cultural Specialists, 3:00 – 3:45 p.m., Room 312
Moderator:   Kainoa Daines, Oahu Visitors Bureau
Speakers:     All Participants
Description: This session will give participants a unique opportunity to talk story and share their successes, challenges and emerging trends for cultural resources at Hawaii’s resorts and retail operations.
Details:         A Hawaiian Worldview: Practical Applications in Business, 3:45 – 5:30 p.m., Room 312
Moderator:   Doug Chang, The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach
Speakers:     Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, Hawaiian Airlines; Corbett Kalama, Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation; Gordon Umi Kai, Avis/Budget
Description: Explores strategies for creating systemic change in the visitor industry that promote Hawaiian values.
Details:         Imi Noii: Hawaiian Research and Resources for Today’s Hawaiian Cultural Resource Specialist, 4:45 – 5:30 p.m., Room 312
Moderator:   Hiilani Shibata, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association
Speakers:     Puakea Nogelmeier, Awaiaulu; DeSoto Brown, Bishop Museum; Cy Bridges, Kumu Hula
Description: Explores the essential resources of Hawaiian ike, or knowledge, to access and utilize these materials.

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