Celebrate a Legacy Honoree Mark Egan
Mark Egan was the architect of the modern Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau. He joined the Bureau in 1946 as its president after his service in Hawai‘i during World War II as chief of service for the Air Transport Command in the islands. His pre-war experience working for hotels and convention and visitors bureaus in Cleveland and Pittsburgh provided him with the credentials for the job. But, in those early days of tourism, a big part of his job was to convince the business community that there was a bright future in the visitor industry.
Mark was both a booster for tourism and an organizer. Creating an effective organization was a top priority as the visitor industry recovered from a complete shutdown during the war. Mark’s gregarious personality was instrumental in bringing together the hotels, airlines, travel agencies and others into an effective coalition that would market Hawai‘i to the world.
One of Mark’s enduring contributions to Hawai‘i is the current name of the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau. Formerly called the Hawai‘i Tourist Bureau, Mark renamed it the Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau based on his belief that the word “visitor” more appropriately described the hospitality that Hawai‘i with its aloha spirit had to offer the world.
As president of the Bureau, Mark created an organization and an approach to destination marketing that became a model for many other tourism organizations around the Pacific.