Aloha Asia: Hawaii Convention Center offers sustainable settingBy Staff Reporter
01 Aug 2017
Fishponds, waterfalls and traditional Hawaiian quilt designs adorn the Hawaii Convention Center’s (HCC) 100,000sqm of floor space, with an open-air layout allowing delegates to enjoy the sunshine and sea breeze the locale is known for.
The structure itself boasts a natural ambiance that matches its responsible practices. Teri Orton, general manager of HCC says: “The HCC brings the outdoors inside. It gives meeting participants the opportunity to experience a true Hawaiian sense of place.”
The centre uses several CSR practices, including sustainable indoor lighting and cooling systems, recycling and repurposing event-generated waste, and adopting biodegradable event supplies to lessen impact on local landfills.
The environmental effects also extend well beyond the facility’s grounds. “We support our community’s farmers, ranchers and purveyors in curating menus for our events,” Orton says. “Our culinary team is committed to sourcing local products, offering our guests a real taste of the Hawaiian Islands on their plate.”
Last year, the centre also worked with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, a nonprofit organisation that has led the permanent reforestation of more than 340,000 endemic trees on the island of Hawaii. The HCC upped the target to one million native trees, and is well on its way to meeting that goal. Click here to learn more.
“This is just one example of the sustainability programmes we engage in annually, and our guests can join us as we support these vital reforestation efforts," Orton says. "Supporters can plant and sponsor their own Hawaiian Legacy Tree planted on the Hāmākua Coast on Hawaii Island. Their koa tree gift will perpetuate for years, often growing up to 50 feet (15m) tall.”
Orton also details encouraging CSR trends she has seen throughout the MICE industry, with more and more conference delegates now eager to incorporate sustainable efforts into meetings and conferences at HCC and across the state of Hawaii.
Where East meets West
Hawaii itself is gaining ground as a destination for MICE groups travelling from Asia. As the mid-Pacific gateway to the West, the location serves as a convenient choice for groups seeking to travel outside Asian borders.
The Elele programme in particular beckons groups from around the globe to HCC. The programme, part of Meet Hawaii, is a collaboration between the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), HTA’s global marketing teams and Hawaii Convention Center (HCC) to reinforce the brand of the Hawaiian Islands as a world-class destination for global business meetings, conventions, and incentives. In Orton’s words, Elele is “critical to our overall strategy".
Elele enlists the support of community leaders, known as ambassadors, who have ties to professional organisations with national and international meetings. The ambassadors offer indispensible insights, as well as assistance with on-the-ground planning.
The Meet Hawaii team also has representatives from Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan and the Oceania region who can help organise unique events for international groups.
“Our melting pot of cultures allows us to anticipate and cater to the needs of a culturally diverse audience,” Orton adds. “It comes naturally to our staff, and we do it with every different client we have the opportunity to work with.”
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