W. Dudley Child, Jr.
Dudley Child literally grew up in the hotel industry. At the age of seven, he was running the switchboards and elevator at his father’s hotel. From this hands-on beginning, Dudley took an interest in the industry, leaving the islands to study hotel management at Cornell University. His studies prepared him to step into managing the InterIsland Resort Company when his father, the company’s president, fell ill. At the time, InterIsland Resorts owned three hotels: Naniloa in Hilo, the Kaua‘i Inn and the Kona Inn. But Dudley had a bigger vision for the company. After unsuccessfully attempting to redevelop the Kaua‘i Inn, Dudley refocused on developing a new property on Kaua‘i, the Kaua‘i Surf, which opened on Kalapakī Beach in 1960. The Kaua‘i development was not without controversy. Dudley had to convince the InterIsland board – and his father – that significant investments in neighbor island tourism development would be profitable. The Kaua‘i investement did prove to be successful and the company moved on to develop the Maui Surf and the Kona Surf properties over the next ten years.
Dudley Child and InterIsland Resorts understood and responded to the changing nature of the growing visitor industry. The company acquired Trade-Wind Tours and Gray Line Tours and developed close alliances with other major travel companies, providing a full range of travel services for Hawai‘i visitors.
One of the significant contributions of Dudley Child and InterIsland Resorts was the development of full service beach properties on the Neighbor Islands in the 1960s and 70s, which stimulated statewide tourism. InterIsland Resorts eventually sold its properties to other operators, but the vision of its founding family was instrumental in the development of Hawai‘i tourism.