After nearly 20 years, the UH athletic department is getting a new travel partner.
JTB Hawaii, whose bid recently was accepted, will be handling travel arrangements for all the UH teams. JTB Hawaii takes over on July 1.
The change ends Panda Travel’s association with UH athletics, a partnership that began after former Gov. Ben Cayetano solicited sponsors for the football program.
Panda staffed an office in the athletic department to quicken travel arrangements. Through the years, the Panda agents — Bianca Tokumoto, Lori Figueroa, Lavana Francisco and Corene Tsang — also volunteered to assist in game-day operations. Those videos of football coaches commenting soon after the end of road games? Lavana shot the videos using a media relations director’s cell phone.
“Panda has been a great partner for nearly two decades,” athletic director David Matlin said in a telephone interview. “Their impact on student-athletes and coaches has been difference making. The entire staff of Panda has been great friends with the athletic department, and we appreciate everything they’ve done.”