AOTT students promote Kaua’i tourism at airport

NAWILIWILI – The tiny Academy of Travel and Tourism (AOTT) classroom bristled

with activity as students broke into several smaller groups to work on

finalizing their service project a display of Kaua`i products and activities

geared towards informing both visitors and kama`aina.

With the target date

of the week before spring break in March looming before them, the 53 students

in the two-year learning program at Kaua`i High School have amassed over 100

representative businesses and products for the two display areas located at the

Lihu’e airport, but there is room for more.

Celina Baliaris, the program’s

junior class representative, was full of enthusiasm as she said this was a good

way for Kaua`i businesses and products to be exposed to airport arrivals and

departures as two separate displays will be created.

The senior class,

numbering 16 students, will be working on a Kaua`i products showcase on the

Hawaiian Air side of the terminal while the remainder of the class will create

a more generalized display at the Aloha Airlines wing.

A group of mapmakers

scribbled notes as well as toyed with varying depictions of the island while

another group clicked away on computers, entering the names and addresses of

the collection of business cards that is the result of several weeks of

canvassing the island.

Business organizations will be broken down into four

island districts and coded according to categories such as shopping,

restaurants, and activities, Baliaris explained.

Students, some garbed in

attire depicting representatives of the visitor industry, paced off the actual

space of the airport display cases while others reached up the wall to mark off

the height of the display.

Another group rummaged through cartons, shopping

bags, and a collection of samples that is also the result of canvassing the

island communities.

Val Tina Calaycay, the program’s director, said the

project is an integrated learning affair as four teachers of the program are

also involved, and students have had to draw on experiences from both the

classroom as well as from their job shadow experiences since the start of the

school year.

Baliaris, who also dances the hula for the Hyatt Regency’s

luau, agreed that this was truly a learning experience as they’ve had to learn

to interact with people, both in the business community as well as with

visitors. The job shadow experiences at businesses directly involved with the

visitor industry allowed students a chance to interact with tourists, Baliaris

said.

“We’ve learned what they (visitors) want from their Kaua`i

experience,” Baliaris said. “We’ve also learned how to respond to

questions being asked by businesses participating in the display. It’s been a

lot of fun!”

“There is no charge for businesses to be

represented,” Baliaris said. “They just need to let us know they’re

interested.” But, time is rapidly running out as Calaycay said they will

be accepting considerations until the end of February for inclusion in the

display which will be up until the end of August.

As one student fielded

telephone questions from Sharlene Mata of Hawaiian Keepsakes in the Coconut

Marketplace, Calaycay stood by in the event the vendor posed questions that

needed clarification from the director.

The AOTT program is part of the

National Academy Foundation, and is available to Kaua`i High School juniors who

complete a two-year program before graduating high school.

Board members

for the Kaua`i program include Danny Aki of the Outrigger Kaua`i Beach Hotel,

Yolanda Cabinatan of Trans Hawaiian, Gayln Fujii from Robert’s Hawai`i, Dennis

Fujimoto of the Garden Island newspaper, Glenn Hayakawa of the Kaua`i Marriott

Resort, Kimberly Kato representing the Kaua`i Teachers Federal Credit

Union.

Leesha Kawamura comes from Hawaiian Airlines, Jolene Kono represents

Aloha Airlines, Cheryl Michioka heads the Board representing Mokihana Travel

Service, and Bruce Morehead comes in from Budget Rent-a-Car.

Freckles Smith

of Smith’s Boat Service, Jeff Tarpey of United Airlines, and Carla Thomas of

the Hyatt Regency Kaua`i Resort round out the Board that oversees the

program.

For more information, or to be part of the Kaua`i display,

interested businesses and organizations may call the Academy at 274-3178, or

e-mail the Academy at khsaott@usa.net.

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