A new program brings students to Waikiki to encourage young, local interest in tourism.

Eugene Martinez, a McKinley High School senior, buses tables after school at the Sheraton Waikiki and dreams of the day when he can become a hotel manager in Hawaii.

The tables turned for Martinez on Wednesday when he lunched with some of the top leaders at Starwood Hotels and Resorts in Hawaii at the first ClimbHI and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority LEI (Lead, Expose, Inspire) workforce development event. The program brought 300 high school students into Waikiki, where they got a chance to check out the tourism product, participate in tourism training, find out about job opportunities, and meet Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Mayor Peter Carlisle and tourism leaders from the state’s visitor industry. Login for more…