Six travel industry leaders who helped change the way people see and experience Hawaii are being inducted into the Hawaii Hospitality Hall of Fame on October 23.
The inductees are being honored at the “Celebrate a Legacy in Tourism” dinner, hosted by the University of Hawaii’s School of Travel Industry Management at the Hawaii Convention Center and will be added to a “Wall of Fame” adjacent to the third floor ballroom. This is the second year of the Hall of Fame.
The TIM School and its Alumni Association have teamed with the board of trustees of the Hall of Fame to honor individuals that made “outstanding contributions” to Hawaii’s tourism industry.
“Our six honorees each played a significant role in the evolution of our tourism industry as a world leader,” said Robert Herkes, chair of the board of the hall of fame and former senior executive with InterIsland Resorts.
“Their careers were distinguished by their business accomplishments, as well as for the spirit of aloha they showed to our island communities,” Herkes said.
The 2008 inductees, all of whom have died, are:
Kenneth F.C. Char was president of Aloha Airlines from 1965 to 1981 and is credited with expanding its services. After retiring from the airline, he became president of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. He was also instrumental in establishing the University of Hawaii’s School of Travel Industry Management.
Jerry Hulse, travel editor for the Los Angeles Times, “whose eloquent stories of Hawaii spread his love for the Hawaiian Islands to millions of readers nationwide.”
George S. Kanahele, who is credited with reconnecting Hawaii’s tourism industry with the Hawaiian culture. He co-founded the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, The Waiaha Foundation and the Hawaii Entrepreneurship Training and Development Institute.
Kanae Kobayashi was a founding partner and president of Hawaii Pacific Resorts, which became one of the largest hotel chains in the Islands. He also pioneered with his two brothers an enterprise that included retail and wholesale travel agencies and ground handling operations.
Robert N. Rinker graduated from Cornell School of Hotel Administration with Dudley Child, who hired him as a manager for his company InterIsland Resorts. He later worked for Gus Guslander’s Island Holidays hotels and went on to become president of the Hawaii Hotel Association where he was invaluable in shaping relations between the industry and government.
George “Pete” Wimberly, an architect with Wimberly, Allison, Tong, and Goo, “introduced a style of resort architecture that was creative, exotic, and imaginative.” His landmark projects helped define Hawaii tourism and created a Hawaii-based business designing resorts around the world.
The new inductees join 25 charter individuals who were recognized at last year’s school dinner.