Aloha Richard Kelley: So Sad for Outrigger, Hawaii, World Travel and Tourism

Richard Kelley passed away Thursday in Colorado.

For more than 40 years, Richard Kelley was one of the most influential hospitality and tourism leaders in the State of Hawaii. He was in control of Outrigger since the 80′ a family-owned business at the time.

Kelley treated employees like family as his parents did, and every week for 40 years he produced a written briefing for workers in which he shared items that included recognition of employee milestones or accomplishments, as well as industry information that could include policy issues and industry developments.

These “Saturday Briefings” over time became something that Kelley shared with others who wanted to be on his distribution list, including government officials, business people, and also eTurboNews.

Back before the big international brands arrived in the Aloha State, Hawaii’s visitor industry was managed by mom-and-pop companies such as the Kelley family who established Outrigger Hotels & Resorts.

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Richard Kelley

“For many of us in Hawaii, Richard Kelley personified what one would understand the Aloha Spirit is. He was once seen as the most influential person in the Hawaii Travel and Tourism industry, running his once family-owned hotel group Outrigger”, said Juergen Steinmetz, publisher of eTurboNews.

Not only did he spread the spirit of Aloha to everyone he interacted within Hawaii, Mr. Kelley was also one of the few people in Hawaii who understood the importance of global tourism. As a member of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), I participated in a number of discussions with Mr. Kelley spreading his view for Hawaii Tourism at WTTC summits around the world.

Mr. Kelley was not only a loyal reader of eTurboNews from the time eTN started in 2000. He frequently commented on relevant content and gave his feedback on and off the record. “He was a mentor for so many of us”, Juergen Steinmetz, added.

“For many years and even after he retired in Colorado, he included a $100 bill within his beautiful and personal family Christmas cards. Mr. Kelley lived the Aloha Spirit no matter where he was.”

The former longtime chief executive of Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, who left a job as a Queen’s Hospital doctor to join the family tourism business, was 88.

Kelley died Thursday in Denver after battling Parkinson’s disease for 20 years. He moved to Colorado after selling his hotel group and lived with Linda, his wife of 29 years. For two decades he battled Parkinson’s disease, though that didn’t keep him from recently finishing a partially auto­biographical book.


The Outrigger Story


Entrepreneurs at heart, in 1932 the Kelleys went into part-time business for themselves by constructing a six-room apartment building in Waikiki. Other apartment buildings soon followed. During this time, however, the only hotels available to visitors in Waikiki were the Royal Hawaiian, the Halekulani, and the Moana – all catering to the wealthy and well-to-do.

So, in 1947, Roy Kelley built his first hotel – the 50-room Islander Hotel on Seaside Avenue. This five-story walkup was the first new hotel to be built in Waikiki in over 20 years and the first to focus on the middle-income family traveler. Also in the late ‘40s, the Kelleys built the Ala Wai Terrace Hotel-Apartments, featuring six garden-units on
the banks of the Ala Wai and purchased the Edgewater Beach Apartments.

Bringing novelty and luxury to Waikiki, the ocean wing of the Edgewater Hotel was erected in 1950. At six stories, it was considered a “high-risk” and included an automatic elevator and a swimming pool – both regarded as luxuries at the time. The second tower of Edgewater was built two years later.

eTurboNews | Travel News

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Aloha Richard Kelley: So Sad for Outrigger, Hawaii, World Travel and Tourism


Source: eTurboNews

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