KAUAI, Hawaii - Travel Agent was on hand for the kickoff of the fourth annual Hawaii Travel Exchange at the Kauai Marriott Resort.
The exclusive, invitation-only program, presented by Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor magazines along with partner Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau (HVCB), brought together roughly 100 top-producing travel advisors from across North America on a fully hosted basis. Of those agents, 95 are first-time attendees.
"For a first time visitor to Hawaii, HTE has been extremely informative," says Melissa Pugh of Jet Set World Travel. "The islands of Hawaii all have unique experiences to offer, so it is important to know the differences to best design a trip suited for each client's likes, needs and wants. Figuring out the logistics of a Hawaii itinerary can be tricky, but now i feel i can organize one with ease."
Advisors in attendance have the opportunity to meet with suppliers representing a range of Hawaii- focused vacation products during prescheduled one-to-one meetings, exclusive networking opportunities, on-site property inspections and educational sessions.
Travel advisors were selected based on a review of their transactions and volume of business booked, categories of bookings, specialization and other criteria. Hawaiian suppliers in attendance will represent the entire state including each of the island chapters, hotels and resorts, spas, cruise lines, tour operators, transportation companies, attractions, activities and airlines.
"I just want to say what a great pleasure and honor it is to host travel agents," says Karen Hughes, vice president of Meet Hawaii and Travel Industry Partnerships for the HVCB, who started in the business as a travel agent roughly 35 years ago. "The exchange gives us an opportunity to bring agents to Hawaii because once you're here, once you've seen it, you will love it and our whole goal with the Hawaii Travel Exchange is to get agents here, familiarize them with each of these unique islands so they can become our ambassadors."