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Finalists Announced for aio Media and HLTA’s Inaugural Awards Program

(Sponsored) The new aio Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Awards will recognize outstanding achievements in tourism statewide.


aio HLTA tourism awards


The Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association has partnered with aio Media—HONOLULU, Hawai‘i Business, and HAWAI‘I Magazines—to launch an awards program that honors some of the top achievers in the visitor industry. Honorees are nominated from 14 categories across accommodations, restaurants, events, music, culture and heritage, and agritourism to recognize outstanding achievements of the people behind the scenes of the state’s top industry.


The aio Media Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Awards aim to publicly recognize and reward industry excellence; reinforce its value; support consumer confidence in tourism; and promote an annual platform to celebrate the industry and offer networking opportunities for operators, supporters and sponsors.


Nominations were submitted by the public last fall, and three to five finalists were carefully chosen in each category by a blue-ribbon selection committee. The awards dinner will be held the evening of Thursday, March 8, 2018 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. Finalists are listed here in alphabetical order:


Category: Agritourism / Agriculture Tourism Destination

  • Aloun Farms Annual Pumpkin Festival

  • Greenwell Farms/Current Events

  • Harvest Festival/Hawai‘i Crop Improvement Association


Category: Agritourism / Farmers Market

  • Blaisdell Farmers Market

  • Ka Makana Ali‘i Farmers Market

  • Kailua Farmers Market

  • Kapi‘olani Community College Farmers Market

  • Keauhou Hawai‘i Island Farmers Market


Category: Excellence in Food and Beverage / Fine Dining

  • Hau Tree Lanai at The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel

  • Orchids at Halekūlani

  • Noe at Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina

  • Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill

  • Ruth’s Chris Waikiki


Category: Excellence in Food and Beverage / Casual Dining

  • Crackin’ Kitchen  

  • Duke’s Waikīkī

  • Lava Lava Beach Club

  • Waikīkī Yokocho Gourmet Alley

  • Yauatcha Waikīkī

Category: Excellence in Food and Beverage / Local/Sustainable Dining

  • Ali‘i Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center

  • Azure at the Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort

  • Japengo Steak and Seafood at the Hyatt Regency Waikīkī Beach Resort & Spa

  • Merriman’s Hawai‘i restaurants

  • Ravish at The MODERN


Category: Best Hotels/Accommodations/Luxury Accommodations

  • Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

  • Halekūlani

  • Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows

  • The Kahala Hotel & Resort

  • The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Category: Best Hotels/Accommodations/Large Hotel

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikīkī Beach Resort

  • Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa

  • Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel

  • The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui

  • The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort


Category: Best Hotels/Accommodations/Small Hotel

  • Andaz Maui at Wailea

  • Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu at Ko Olina

  • The MODERN Honolulu

  • The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel

  • The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club


Category: Leadership in the Industry/Young Achiever

  • Anisah Ahakuelo, The MODERN Honolulu

  • Elizabeth Guthrie, Mean Mango Integrated Marketing

  • Jenny Kim, PacRim Marketing Group

  • Trevor Ozawa, Honolulu City Council

  • Will Song, Lights on Digital


Category: Leadership in the Industry/Cultural Adviser

  • Blaine Kamalani Kia

  • Clifford Naeole, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

  • Luana Maitland, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts

  • Thelma Kehaulani Kam, Starwood Hotels & Resorts

  • Trisha Kehaulani Watson-Sproat, Honua Consulting


Category: Leadership in the Industry/Outstanding Individual in Music & Entertainment

  • Henry Kapono

  • Jerry Santos

  • Makana

Category: Leadership in the Industry/Contribution to Tourism by an Individual

  • Denise Wardlow, The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

  • Kamea Hadar, POW! WOW! Hawaii

  • Teri Orton, Hawai‘i Convention Center/AEG Facilities


Category: Best Tourism Events/Heritage and Cultural Event

  • Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival

  • Duke’s OceanFest

  • Honolulu Festival

  • Polynesian Cultural Center’s World Fireknife Championship

  • Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Welcome Home Event


Category: Best Tourism Events/Agriculture Event Using Locally Grown Products

  • Hawai‘i Chocolate Festival

  • Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival

  • Kapalua Wine and Food Festival

  • Made in Hawai‘i Festival

  • Taste of the Hawaiian Range


Ticket sales begin Jan. 8, 2018 and can be purchased at hawaiimagazine.com/tourismawards18

The evening will offer top-notch entertainment and dining, along with networking and cocktail hour before the event. 


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