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asianTraveler: Hawaii is known for dramatic sunsets, seascapes, and passionate days spent in the water or on the beach. Tell us, what makes the quintessential Hawaiian experience?
Avi Mannis: Hawaii’s physical beauty has enchanted travellers for many years, and rightfully so. However, for me, the best experiences in Hawaii are those in which I get to encounter the people of Hawaii. The warmth, hospitality, and cultural diversity of our population are what make Hawaii so great to visit, again and again.
aT: Why do you think is it a choice destination for weddings and honeymoons? What is it about Hawaii that makes it romantic?
AM: Hawaii has all the ingredients that make for an ideal romantic getaway and an effect on the senses that few other locations can offer. In the space of one day, you can experience lush tropical forests, cold snow-topped mountain peaks and the adrenaline rush of viewing an active volcano. No place in Earth offers this kind of variety. And, the diversity of our environments means that there’s an endless array of experiences to be had for newlyweds, creating memories sure to be treasured in a lifetime.
aT: How would you define “passion” in Hawaii? What are some of the things that a Hawaiian must be able to enjoy and will not be able to live without?
AM: People in Hawaii are passionate about many things. Being on islands surrounded by water, most locals will tell you that the ocean is their passion. For some, that means surfing the powerful waves of Hawaii, and being in awe of nature’s spectacular power. For others, it means fishing or merely taking a leisurely swim. We are also passionate about sharing our unique food. Every local gathering revolves around food. We couldn’t live without the foods of our many ancestors that came to make Hawaii our home, like those from Japan, Europe, China and the Philippines.
aT: What would be your own recommendations for passion-filled destinations and experiences in that side of the world? If you were to create an itinerary for the passionate and savvy Asian Traveler, what itinerary would you recommend, and what are the things that one must experience during this trip?
AM: I’d recommend starting the day early by getting to a local farmer’s market. Here, you can explore the bounty of Hawaii, from succulent local grown fruits to locally harvested honey. Assemble your own custom-made, farm-fresh breakfast. Then, head to the beach for a morning swim and a little bit of relaxation in the sun. Before it gets too hot, you can retreat into the cool and explore the worldclass art collection at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. For dinner, I’d choose to dine at the table of one of Hawaii’s premier chefs, such as Alan Wong, Chef Chai, or Mavro. I’d end the day by listening to some live entertainment and enjoying an artisan cocktail at one of a number of lounges in Waikiki, followed by a walk on the beach under the stars—the quintessential Hawaii vacation.
aT: As the highest-ranked airline in the United States, how does Hawaiian Airlines extend the concept of passion and creativity in its kind of service?
AM: We are unique in the world, in that we only serve one destination—Hawaii. People who travel on us, whether they are residents or visitors, are passionate about Hawaii, and everything about our service—the video, the people, even the food—is specially designed to fulfil that passion.
aT: You’ve built a strong brand over the past 82 years—and counting. Based on the airline’s collective experience, how has our concept of travel evolved through the ages? What insights can you share about people’s motivations for and expectations of travelling?
AM: We realize that people traveling for leisure today are increasingly seeking transformational experiences – experiences that open themselves to new world views, new foods, or new ways to reinvent themselves. Hawaii, by its very nature, is a transformative destination, just ask any of the thousands of people that visit Hawaii and never leave. The Hawaiian Airlines brand is strong because of our focus on Hawaii. Any airline can provide you an airline seat, but only Hawaiian Airlines allows you to start your transformation before you even arrive.
aT: Please tell us more about any packages or promotions you might have to key Hawaiian hubs and hot spots?
AM: We don’t have any particular promotions at the moment, but Hawaii has never been a better value for visitors from Asia.
aT: Last question – if YOU were to take off for a week and simply indulge in new experiences, where would YOU go and what would you try?
AM: Hawaii is such an amazing place, but I do love to travel. Surrounded by a tropical paradise, I travel to places that are different than where I live. I naturally gravitate toward big cities. We’re fortunate to serve many of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia and the Pacific and I love to explore them—whether it’s Tokyo, Seoul, Manila, or Sydney.