NAWILIWILI — The jazz-influenced, mellow sounds of Ohta San seemed a fitting way to greet travel writers attending the Society of American Travel Writers gathering Friday at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club.
“It’s so relaxing,” said Roy Sakuma, an ‘ukulele virtuoso himself, and accompanying Ohta San and Nando Suan, who provided the entertainment at a special reception for society members.
Sakuma noted that he and Ohta San will be back on Kaua‘i for the ‘ukulele festival at Kukui Grove coming up Saturday.
Seven travel writers from the 84-member Western Chapter Conference were welcomed and hosted by Bill Countyman, general manager for the Kaua‘i Marriott, and Sue Kanoho, director for the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau.
The society is one of the nation’s most influential groups of travel journalists, and the Western Chapter is the largest and most prolific in producing travel-related stories about destinations their members visit and experience, states a press release.
The chapter will meet during the annual conference of the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau in Waikiki from June 25 to 29 — but not before touring the islands.
A representative from McNeil Wilson Communications who was present at the reception explained that before and after the Waikiki conference, travel writers have the option of visiting other areas and islands in Hawai‘i on three-day packages.
“Hosting this esteemed group of travel writers adds considerable momentum to our efforts to highlight Waikiki’s impressive renewal,” John Monahan, Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau president and CEO, said in the release. “What’s more, many of the member journalists have signed up for pre-and-post conference stays on the Neighbor Islands which will result in good exposure for the entire state.”
The conference is part of the bureau’s campaign to promote the many improvements being realized in Waikiki this year, and taking cue from this, Countryman also informed his guests of the improvements that are, and will be, taking place on the Kalapaki Beach property.
The journalists and 27 associate members will be headquartered at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.