2008 FTA Hong Kong Fall Dinner
Thursday, October 16, 2008


The following 'Welcoming Remarks' were delivered by Fred Tibbitts at the 2008 Hong Kong Fall Dinner.


Welcoming Remarks at Hong Kong


Welcome to the Eighth Annual FTA “A Fall Evening at Hong Kong with Very Special Friends”.  I am delighted you have all joined us this evening and in particular I want to thank the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong as well as our valued dinner sponsors, without whose generous support this evening would not be possible.  So, please, let’s give the hotel management and the sponsors a well-deserved hand of applause.  And since education and training is the foundation of our industry, I ask all the hospitality educators present to please stand and be recognized.


We gather in New York City, Hong Kong and across Asia Pacific to recognize hospitality excellence; in the names of those whom we honor, provide scholarships at schools of higher hospitality education; and make charitable donations, such as to the China Tibetan Children Health & Education Fund, based at Hong Kong and founded by the noted China philanthropist, Madame Annie Suk-ching Wu.


An industry is only as strong as the wisdom, vision, compassion and actions of its leaders; leaders who define excellence for the benefit of all those who look to them to know the way to realize their dreams and ambitions and not be left behind.  In the end we are judged not by whom we include, but by whom we exclude.  Great leaders inspire and teach all those who seek to be included, because serving the least of us is truly the highest calling and the only measure of service from the heart.


This evening we come together to recognize hospitality industry Literary Excellence.  This is truly a very special evening for us all and I thank you for joining us, because as I say at every FTA dinner, YOU are the dinner.


But the deeper meaning of why we come together is really at the very heart of why the hospitality industry is so special to those of us who have come to consider it our calling.


Hospitality is about service and in particular service excellence: Service to others; for service is truly the highest calling.  It is not what we do for ourselves, but what we do for others that is the measure of our worth to humanity.


The truth is that we are free to dwell at any given moment in as beautiful a place as our hearts are open to loving all others without qualification and our willingness to serve all others without question, simply because it is the right thing to do.


Life is a series of micro steps from the time we arrive to the time we depart and the quality of our life is but a reflection of the quality of our contribution to the peace and happiness of others.


It is not about pleasing ourselves or collecting “things” as the late George Carlin, the well noted American humorist reminded us: It is about serving others and after one’s basic, personal needs are met, allowing what remains of what comes our way to pass through our fingers for the benefit of those less fortunate.


In particular I ask everyone to please remember the earthquake survivors at Sichuan.  The winter is soon approaching.  If you have already contributed, thank you very much.  If not, please, search your heart and help the survivors: Especially the children, which are the focus of UNICEF in China.


Thank you.