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Meet Our Team: Tourism Brand Manager Grace Lee

As the HTA focuses on pivoting its marketing efforts to Asia, HTA brand manager Grace Lee is working with Hawaii Tourism Korea (HTK) to build Hawaii’s Korean visitor market. 
Prior to working at the HTA, Grace was a flight attendant with Aloha Airlines for 15 years and served as the Association of Flight Attendants’ secretary-treasurer from 2001-2008, managing the budget and administering the collective bargaining agreement, negotiations and concessionary agreements. Born and raised in Hawaii, Grace graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a degree in business administration and management. 
Joining the HTA in 2008 (the year that the visa waiver program was implemented in Korea), Grace has seen the Korea market grow from 38,110 annual visitors to 171,506, a 350 percent increase in five years. Total expenditures have also grown significantly since 2008, reaching $314.6 million in 2013 from $79.4 million in 2008.
Through efforts like the recent Hawaii and Maui road shows, upcoming Korea Travel Mission, long-stay educational tour promotions targeting students and parents, and HTK’s Luxury “Wifelogger” press trip with Korea’s top affluent housewife bloggers later this year, the HTA anticipates attracting 190,000 visitors (+10.8%) and $350 million (+11.3%) in total expenditures in 2014, double-digit percentage growth, year-over-year.  
Next month, 20 Hawaii partners will participate in HTK’s Korea Travel Mission in Seoul and Busan. The events offer networking and business opportunities with key players in Korea’s travel trade industry. For the first time this year, HTK also planned a Seoul Media Mart, in which partners will meet with 30 media from daily newspapers, consumer and lifestyle magazines and share information about Hawaii and their companies. 



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