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New manager selected for Hawaii Convention Center

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 2:30 p.m. HST, Jul 3, 2013

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has ousted SMG Hawaii, which has run the underperforming Hawaii Convention Center since it opened in 1998, and awarded the facility's next management contract to LA-based AEG Facilities.

“This announcement represents the rebirth of the convention center for a new era in Hawaii,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA.

Taxes generated from the spending of visitors and groups using the convention center has covered the cost of its operations, the tourism authority said. However, the HTA said it believes that the center can perform at a higher-level. AEG Facilities, which is a leading venue management organization, will be responsible for boosting use of the facility.

“We are truly excited to partner with the HTA and all of the hospitality stakeholders to build on the foundation in place and attract new and diverse events to the facility," said Bob Newman, president of AEG Facilities, which has a presence in more than 100 venues on five continents.

HTA’s current contractor, SMG Hawaii, will manage the center through December. AEG’s contract starts Jan. 1, 2014. HTA will work closely with AEG to keep most of the 70 employees who work for SMG Hawaii.

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