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Talk Story with Mike McCartney of HTA

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What’s the focus of HTA in 2012?

We are working with Japan to increase the number of visitors coming here since the tsunami disaster. Of course, we have flights from Korea and China and we’re now cultivating new flights from Australia to fly direct to Hawaii from Brisbane and Melbourne, instead of connecting in Sydney. We’re becoming more global and trying to cultivate more meeting business from Asia because of APEC. There’s good potential for meetings not only for the convention center but for hotels. We’re diversifying tourism beyond just leisure, to the business traveler. It’s a more balanced approach.

Do you have plans to return to politics someday?

No. I respect the people who are there because it’s a real tough job. I’m glad I did it, but I wish I knew back then what I know now. But you can’t look back. I’m happy and feel blessed that I had the experience, but I knew in my heart that I had to walk away in order to grow. I’m not judging anyone else, it was just my own journey. It’s really not about one leader, but it’s about all of us collectively. We are all a part of the community. The only way it’s going to get better is through collective leadership, collective stewardship. We all have to step up and do our part.

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