Monday, January 25, 1999

Isle tour
seller to fund
travel education

Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays'
founder plans to spend millions
stressing the industry's importance

By Russ Lynch


Ed Hogan, the California resident who built a personal fortune from selling Hawaii trips to mainlanders, plans to spend millions on travel industry education.

Hogan, who founded Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays in the 1950s to sell Hawaii tours through travel agents, said today a foundation that he and his wife Lynn set up in 1987 will need to spend some $3.75 million this year for tax reasons.

Some of it will go into travel-industry education by setting up a four-year curriculum at Loyola Marymount University near Los Angeles to teach travel-business management skills.

But a lot will go into a broader effort, here and on the mainland, to spread the word about the importance of the travel industry to the economy and the importance of education to keep the industry strong in the future, Hogan said in an interview.

Pleasant Travel Service Ltd., headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., not only operates the Hawaii business -- which brings several hundred thousand mainlanders to Hawaii each year -- but wholesales tour packages to Tahiti and Mexico and owns and operates hotels.

Hogan's new vehicle to give some of that success to the communities is the Pleasant Travel and Tourism Institute. He announced his plans last night at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui, where the 225 U.S. travel agents who bring the most business to Pleasant were meeting.

Hogan said he told the agents that the institute will produce brochures for them to take to their local grade and high schools, detailing the huge contribution travel makes to U.S. and international commerce.

"We'll employ speakers. We'll make films and videos" to educate the public about the travel industry, he said.

They will also educate people on the importance of education.

There is little public awareness of such important numbers as the 300,000 executives the U.S. travel industry needs to hire by 2005, he said.

The program at LMU will be important in Hawaii because the university already is popular among Hawaii high-school graduates, Hogan said.

In 1987, the Pleasant Hawaiian Foundation gave $1 million in scholarships to students in Hawaii, Hogan said. That wasn't a highly fulfilling experience because too many didn't graduate, he said. The structure is different now so that scholarships can't simply be given away, nor can the foundations he set up make direct donations.

The foundation structure is now what Hogan called an "operating foundation," which owns what used to be the family tour business. It has a lot of tax freedom but in return has to be operated like a business.

"We cannot just write checks and give them out like a grant foundation," he said. So Hogan will play a key personal role and be chairman of the activities.

Many details are still to be worked out, he said, but since the foundation has been well managed, grows fast and will be worth $100 million this year, it needs to spend some millions to maintain its tax advantages, he said.

From the lowest level of the education program, getting out pro-travel brochures to grade schools, the travel industry will benefit and so will Pleasant's customers, the retail travel agents, Hogan said.

When parents realize that materials from a travel agency helped their children to get a better education, the parents are likely to put their travel business through that agency, he said.

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