|Marilyn McHugh, vice president, global events for the Questex Hospitality+Travel group, kicks off the general session of the Hawaii Travel Exchange|
WAIKOLOA VILLAGE, Hawaii -- Travel Agent was on hand Monday morning for the kick off of the third annual Hawaii Travel Exchange, hosted by Questex Media Group, Inc. Roughly 150 agents are on hand for the four-day event hosted at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.
Presented by Luxury Travel Advisor and Travel Agent magazines with partner the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, the event fully immerses travel sellers on the islands of Hawaii.
Marilyn McHugh, vice president, global events for the Questex Hospitality+Travel group, kicked off the general session by welcoming the agents in attendance. According to McHugh, this year's show drew the most applicants in the event's short history. McHugh says 500 agents submitted applications and nearly 150 of them were selected to attend the event.
"You are all here because you have the business to Hawaii," she says.
Other speakers during the opening session included Julie Zadeh, managing director of travel trade marketing for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau; Jana Lavell, regional sales manager for MLT Vacations; Robyn Basso and Christina Aldanese, both regional directors for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention.
The event brings pre-qualified agents who have a proven booking history to visit the Hawaiian Islands for a four day program including pre-scheduled, one-to-one appointments, informative Hawaii-focused educational sessions, site inspections and multiple networking opportunities.
"It's one thing to read about a destination, to hear about a destination, but its another thing to see it," says Tony Salamone, owner of Tony Salamone Travel Co. in Chicago, who has attended all three Hawaii Travel Exchange shows. "Every year, I learn something new. The show is very efficient. It's great to see lot of familiar faces and to meet some new agents as well. You need to stay on top of all the current offerings to be able to effectively sell the destination. And that's one of the main things that this show offers to agents."
Some of the sponsors for the event include MLT Vacations and Hawaiian Airlines.
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for updates from our ongoing coverage of the Hawaii Travel Exchange.