A University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa faculty member has become the first U.S. recipient of the Asia Pacific Tourism Association (APTA) Founder’s Award, which recognizes a scholar or industry leader who has made significant lifetime contributions in advancing tourism research and/or industry practices in the Asia Pacific region.
School of Travel Industry Management Professor Jerry Agrusa was presented the award at APTA’s annual conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand in July 2023.
“I am honored and humbled to receive the Asia Pacific Tourism Association’s Founder’s Award in memory of Professor Hai-Sik Sohn, the founder of APTA,” Agrusa said. “To be mentioned in the same company as esteemed leaders of hospitality and tourism in the Asia Pacific region, such as Professor Kaye Chon, dean of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University is a great honor. On a personal note, Professor Sohn was my hānai ‘Korean father’ who mentored me both professionally and personally, and I am a better man to have had him in my life. I am incredibly grateful to the APTA leadership for this recognition of my contribution to research and education in the Asia Pacific region.”
Agrusa is highly regarded for his expertise in research and teaching in the area of hospitality and tourism management. He has published more than 100 research articles and conference papers and presented his research in more than 25 different countries. Agrusa’s work has been cited in numerous newspapers and magazines including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Forbes.
Agrusa has served on the APTA Board of Directors and has been the U.S. representative for the past 25 years. Agrusa is only the fifth recipient of this award. Past winners include professors from Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines and Taiwan.