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Inaugural Hawaii Cruise Summit showcases islands' potential

participants gather at Honolulu's Pier 19
Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) welcomed cruise industry executives to the Hawaiian Islands for a summit and 7-day familiarization trip to Oahu, Hawaii Island, Kauai and Maui.

'We wanted the cruise executives to discover for themselves what makes the Hawaiian Islands such a premier travel destination for their guests,' said Randy Baldemor, HTA chief operating officer who hosted representatives from Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International.

The cruise executives spent time in each port meeting with harbor representatives, members of the island visitor bureaus, partners and suppliers. They shared ideas, offered advice and discussed how the ports and service providers can support the changes and growth of the ever-evolving cruise industry.

'I know I speak for all of the Cruise Summit participants when I say that the opportunity to connect with our partners and colleagues in Hawaii was extremely rewarding and sincerely appreciated,' said Tim Littley, director of deployment and itinerary planning at Seabourn.

'The cruise industry loves Hawaii. It is a proven favorite with guests. The challenge facing Hawaii is not its popularity. It will be Hawaii’s ability to keep pace with the rapid growth of the cruise industry in both the number and size of vessels,' he remarked.

Shannon McKee, president of Access Cruise, Inc. and HTA’s cruise consultant added, 'The summit was just the first step in preparing Hawaii for the future of the international cruise community and driving more capacity to the Hawaiian Islands.'
23 ships from 11 cruise lines will visi Hawaii throughout 2016 bringing an estimated 221,210 guests.Norwegian Cruise Line, with its year-round inter-island product Pride of America accounts for 47% of buisness followed by Princess Cruises at 23.4%. Royal Caribbean Cruises brought the largest vessel calling in the islands with the 138,194gt Explorer of the Seas, which carries 3,100 guests.