Mahalo plenty to all the volunteers and participants who helped make our 39th annual Charity Walk a fun and successful event for all! Over six thousand participants took to the streets of Waikiki this past Saturday for the 39th annual Charity Walk, raising roughly $440,000 for Oahu non-profit organizations. With the totals from the Kauai, Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai Charity Walks, we raised over $2.2 million for Hawaii’s non-profit organizations.
The Oahu walk started with light breakfast by Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa, zumba warmups, and a countdown by Guy Hagi and Stephanie Lum of Hawaii News Now. Once the walkers got going, they were treated to food and entertainment throughout a 5-mile course starting from Ala Moana Beach Park through Kalakaua Avenue and back. Food selections at checkpoints along the route included Kalua pork sliders, fried rice, spam musubi, mini Acai bowls, watermelon, chocolate, cookies, and more. At the end of the walk, participants enjoyed a chilidog plate lunch prepared by the Kyo- Ya family of employees . There was music by Jason Laeha, and door prizes. Emcees led by Salem Media's Honorary Chair Dita Holifield included Sam Kapu, Sistah Sherry, and Brother Bulla Eastman who entertained the crowd and announced door prizes.
On May 17, 2017, 8 hotels were recognized for their stellar sustainable efforts at the 2017 Hawaii Green Business Program Awardees Recognition Ceremony, held at the Ceremonial Room in the State Capitol by Governor Ige.
The State’s Hawaii Green Business Program assists and recognizes businesses that strive to operate in an environmentally, culturally and socially responsible manner. As a partnership between the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, the state’s Department of Health, Dept. of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s Hawaii State Energy Office, Board of Water Supply and with the support of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, the program recognizes businesses that are committed to going green by implementing energy and resource environment, the businesses are also collectively contributing to Hawaii’s energy efficiency goal.
Congratulations to the following awardees!
Back in August, HLTA recognized 22 properties for completing a checklist of Hawaii Green Business Program’s ten entry-level green actions. These actions addressed sustainability categories including energy conservation, water conservation, solid waste reduction and recycling, and pollution prevention.
Lastly, I would like to call attention to the significant progress we were able to achieve at the Honolulu City Council in regards to Resolution 17-70. To refresh you on this budget committee measure, Resolution 17-70 sought to implement new real property tax rates for the City & County of Honolulu where the hotel and resort classification were to be one of two classes raised and by a margin of 50 cents per $1,000. Last week during the Honolulu City Council Budget Committee meeting we personally testified and after much deliberations the committee went with a recommendation to withhold increases this year to the hotel and resort classification.
I would like to commend and thank Budget Chair Joey Manahan for his leadership in this endeavor and also thank those on the Budget Committee that voted for this recommendation. Mahalo to Council Vice Chair Ikaika Anderson, Budget Vice Chair Brandon Elefante, and Council Member Kymberly Pine.
This is a great victory for us thus far and I would like to thank all of you who heeded the call and submitted testimony throughout the last council and committee hearings. Members of the City Council have said that this is the most they have ever heard from individuals, organizations, and properties of HLTA.
With that being said we are still not out of the woods as the newly amended CD2 heads to the full council for a floor vote on June 7th. We would like to ask that you once again submit your testimonies in supporting the new draft of Resolution 17-70 which takes the hotel and resort real property tax increase off the table. We will send you a reminder as we get close to the full Council meeting in June.
Over six thousand participants took to the streets of Waikiki on Saturday, May 20 for the 39th annual Charity Walk, raising roughly $440,000 for Oahu non-profit organizations. Throughout the month of May, Charity Walks were held on Kauai, Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. The combined funds raised from all of the State’s Walks as of this date totaled over $2.2 million.
“Mahalo plenty to all the volunteers and participants who helped make our 39th annual Charity Walk a fun and successful event for all. Last year our State reached $2 million on the day of the Oahu Walk, and by the end of the collection period we raised over $2.2 million for 346 charities. Today we reached over $2.2 million, and I’m confident that with the donations continuing to roll in we’re going to exceed last year's overall total easily this year,” said Mufi Hannemann, President & CEO of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, which sponsors the Charity Walk.
The Oahu walk started with light breakfast by Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa, zumba warmups, and a countdown by Guy Hagi and Stephanie Lum of Hawaii News Now. Once the walkers got going, they were treated to food and entertainment throughout a 5-mile course starting from Ala Moana Beach Park through Kalakaua Avenue and back. Food selections at checkpoints along the route included Kalua pork sliders, fried rice, spam musubi , mini Acai bowls, watermelon, chocolate, cookies, and more. At the end of the walk, participants enjoyed a chilidog plate lunch, music by Jason Laeha, and door prizes. Emcees led by Salem Media's Honorary Chair Dita Holifield included Sam Kapu, Sistah Sherry, and Brother Bulla Eastman entertained the crowd and announced door prizes.
Congratulations to Kauai, Hawaii Island, and Maui for each raising record funds at their Charity Walks last weekend! Kauai brought in over $275,000; Hawaii Island raised nearly $300,000, and Maui raised an astonishing $1,087,000. With walks on Molokai and Lanai bringing in $33,654 and $38,390 respectively on May 6, Maui County raised a total of $1,159,053.
The 39th annual Charity Walk wraps up with Oahu’s walk this Saturday, May 20, 2017 at the Ala Moana McCoy Pavilion. The walk will begin at 7 a.m. and circle through a 5-mile course in Waikiki. Walkers will be treated to food and entertainment before the walk, along the route, and at the end of the walk to make for a day full of fun, food, and fundraising for deserving non-profit organizations. Oahu’s Celebrity Charity Walk Chairpersons this year are Guy Hagi and Stephanie Lum of Hawaii News Now, and Dita Holifield of Salem Media.
Last year the Charity Walk raised over $2.2 million statewide. With one weekend to go and $1.7 million raised thus far, our 2017 Charity Walk Co-Chairs Scott Ingwers and Greg Nelson's goal is to raise $500,000 to help exceed last year's statewide total. You can still register online if you haven’t already by clicking the link here.
Congratulations to Kelly Hoen on her new position as area general manager of the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort and Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort! Kelly has been an active board member of HLTA which included a successful stint as the Chair of our organization. I’d also like to welcome and congratulate Douglas Rucker who has been appointed as managing director of The MODERN Honolulu.
In other news, HLTA’s inaugural Ho’okipa Scholarships have been presented to students Melanie Matsunaga of Kauai High School, Sharmaine Domingo of Maui High School, and Tien Thi Kim Nguyen of Kaimuki High School. The $1000 scholarships were given to students studying in their high school’s Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, and plan to major in hospitality during their college career.This will be an annual award that will be rotated among all participating Hospitality Academies in the coming years.
Congratulations to the HLTA Maui Chapter and Maui Hotel & Lodging Association for successful Charity Walks this past weekend on Lanai and Molokai! Lanai raised $38,390 and Molokai raised $33,654 for their island’s charities. The Charity Walk is heading to Maui, Hawaii Island, and Kauai this weekend on May 13, and then to Oahu on May 20.
This year, our media sponsors are Salem Media and Hawaii News Now, and each County will have a Hawaii News Now reporter or anchor as their Charity Walk Honorary Chair! Reporters Chelsea Davis and Ashley Nagaoka will represent Maui and Kauai, respectively; Sunrise Feature Reporter Billy V. will represent Hawaii Island; and Sunrise Weather Anchor Guy Hagi will represent Oahu with News Anchor Stephanie Lum. Dita Holifield of Salem Media will represent their radio stations as an Honorary Chair on Oahu. Each will make a special appearance at their respective walks, and have been promoting the Charity Walk on air and on social media.
On Oahu, HLTA will be having a Charity Walk rally this Thursday, May 11 at the Sheraton Waikiki Resort – Maui Ballroom between 1pm and 3pm. There will be music, light refreshments, and an opportunity to pick up walker stamp cards, drop off cash and check donations, and even register for the walk on-site. Please stop by to show your Charity Walk pride!
We also want to congratulate Lisalani Baybayan, our Na Poʻe Paʻahana Outstanding Lodging Employee for becoming a North Star Award finalist at AH&LA’s Stars of the Industry Awards program. The AH&LA Stars of the Industry awards program recognizes outstanding employee accomplishments and properties on the industry's biggest stage. The winner of the North Star Award, given to the industry's most outstanding employee, will be announced at the 2017 Stars of the Industry Ceremony on May 17, 2017. Since 2000, Hawaii has been fortunate to have eight national stars of the industry winners, with the most recent being Leticia Gamiao, a housekeeper at the then-Aqua Waikiki Wave, who won national recognition as Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year in 2010.
Lisalani is a Regency Club Concierge at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, who captured the title of Outstanding Lodging Employee this year at HLTA’s Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana awards for her personal acts of aloha. She is known to crochet luggage tags for guests and pick up mail boxes for visitors without transportation. Lisalani has also volunteered with the Charity Walk for over 25 years. We wish her the best of luck next week and hope she will bring home the title.
Watch a recap by RKT Media of the Citizen-Scholar Awards below!
Forty-two seniors from public high schools across the Hawaiian Islands each received $1,000 scholarships for their post-graduate educations at the 13th annual Citizen-Scholar Awards, a partnership of the HLTA, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and Department of Education. The presentations were made at a luncheon held at The MODERN Honolulu on April 27. Mahalo to The MODERN Honolulu and all the HLTA members who sponsored a student, especially those who have participated in this worthy cause every year!
The students were selected by the Department of Education for scholastic achievements and school and community service. Each must have a minimum 3.2 grade point average and an extensive record of school and public service.
This year, the HLTA introduced four additional $2,500 scholarships that were awarded to the top student from each of the state’s four counties. The recipients were Jaccie Hisashima of King Kekaulike High School on Maui, Lester Iwata of Waiakea High School on Hawai‘i Island, Truman Spring of Kahuku High School on O‘ahu, and Grace Yatsko of Kapa‘a High School on Kauai. The students were selected by an HLTA committee.
Jaccie Hisashima, Maui
Over the course of her schooling at Kekaulike, Jaccie Hisashima has devoted over a thousand hours of service to others. She is the student body president, as well as a member of the Key Club, STEM Club, tennis team, and a taiko group. Hisashima also returns every year to her elementary school to volunteer for events such as Read Aloud America and Pumpkin Math Night, where she teaches younger students STEM subjects. Hisashima will attend Chapman University starting Fall 2017.
Lester Iwata, Hawai‘i Island
Lester Iwata has been involved in community service since the beginning of his high school career at Waiakea. He is a Key Club member, Student Government Association secretary, and a varsity baseball athlete. Iwata is currently working on a project using computer drafting programs to draw a three-dimensional model of the Hokualaka‘i voyaging canoe. By using his STEM skills, Iwata hopes to educate the community on the history of the canoe and promote Hawaiian culture. Iwata will attend the University of Portland beginning this Fall.
Truman Spring, Oahu
Truman Spring of Kahuku High School is the vice president of his school’s National Honor Society, captain of the Kahuku Speech & Debate team, vice president of the Drama Club, and captain of a soccer club. He is a History Day competitor who has placed in the top 10 nationally for four years, including a first-place finish. When several students from his community lacked the financial resources to compete in National History Day in Washington, D.C., a few years ago, Spring helped get the students to the competition by successfully obtaining a youth leadership grant that required 275 students to participate in 1,000 hours of service through community environmental sustainability projects. Spring will attend Brigham Young University – Provo starting this Fall.
Grace Yatsko, Kaua‘i
Grace Yatsko is president of her school’s Interact Club, member of the Civics Club, student representative for the Kapa‘a High School PTSA, and part of the National Honor Society. Yatsko also has extensive experience in volunteering with youth; she tutors first graders at Kapa‘a Elementary School, works part-time as a teacher’s aide at All Saints Preschool, and has served as a Ke Akua Youth Group leader and Sunday school teacher at her church. When a psychiatric rehabilitation organization called Friendship House was burglarized, Yatsko wrote an editorial in the local newspaper to help raise money for the organization and successfully raised nearly $500. Yatsko will attend Colorado State University starting this Fall.
A complete list of the 2017 Citizen-Scholar Award recipients follows:
Admiral Arthur W. Radford High School
Aiea High School
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
Governor Wallace Rider Farrington High School
Regine Louisa Ramos
The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
Hana High & Elementary School
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa
Henry J. Kaiser High School
The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel
Henry Perrine Baldwin High School
International Market Place
Hilo High School
Castle Resorts & Hotels
Honoka`a High School
Ken's House of Pancakes
James B. Castle High School
James Campbell High School
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach
Ka`u High School
UH Manoa, School of Travel Industry Management
Kahuku High & Intermediate School
Kailua High School
Trump International Hotel Waikiki
Kaimuki High School
Ala Moana Hotel
Kalaheo High School
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Kalani High School
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Kapa`a High School
Kapolei High School
Kaua‘i High School
Danica Marielle Ola
Hawai`i Lodging & Tourism Association - Kauai Chapter
Kea‘au High School
Ruby Kate Galapon
Kealakehe High School
Hawai`i Lodging & Tourism Association - Hawaii Island Chapter
King Kekaulike High School
Maui Hotel & Lodging Association
Kohala High School
Mauna Kea Resort
Konawaena High School
Hale Koa Hotel
Lahainaluna High School
Marriott's Maui Ocean Club
Lanai High School
Leilehua High School
Sheraton Waikiki Resort
Maui High School
Mililani High School
Pacific Beach Hotel
Moanalua High School
Moloka‘i High School
Nanakuli High School
Hawaiian Electric Companies
Pahoa High & Intermediate School
Big Island Candies
Pearl City High School
Outrigger Enterprises Group
President Theodore Roosevelt High School
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa
President William McKinley High School
First Hawaiian Bank
Waiakea High School
KTA Super Stores
Waialua High & Intermediate School
Waianae High School
Waimea High School
Waipahu High School
Andrea Lyn Mateo
Halekulani & Waikiki Parc Hotel
On Friday, the State House of Representatives surprised everyone with a last-minute proposal to raise the Transient Accommodations Tax revenue to fund the Honolulu rail project and education. To be clear, we are not opposed to rail or to improvements to our public education system; however, we believe that this tax should not be targeted solely at the tourism industry.
This proposal to amend Senate Bill 1183 came at the eleventh hour during conference committee and provided no opportunity for the public to provide input or testimony as is the case when bills are heard, particularly when of this magnitude and impact.
The proposed tax increase would raise our 9.25 percent TAT to 12 percent, a 30 percent hike that is unprecedented for our industry. The proposed TAT in combination with the General Excise Tax (GET) would impose a 16.7 percent tax on visitors and residents who patronize our accommodations, adding to Hawaii’s unfortunate reputation as one of the most expensive places to visit. With the proposed tax increase, Hawaii would surpass New York City (16.5 percent), Los Angeles (15.8 percent), and Miami Beach (14.0 percent), on the list of highest lodging tax rates in the nation. San Francisco is only marginally higher at 16.8 percent. This puts us at a competitive disadvantage that could lead to fewer visitors and less visitor spending, and cause a ripple effect that may negatively impact small businesses in our community.
To remain competitive, it is likely that hotels will not pass the increased tax on to guests and instead absorb some of the burden, ultimately leading to staffing cutbacks.
Though Hawaii’s visitor industry is strong right now, there are growing signs of a tourism downturn on the horizon. With the TAT being a highly volatile and much smaller revenue source than the GET, it would be unwise to depend solely on the hotel room tax to fund the city project. On the other hand, the GET is a much fairer tax as it is paid by both residents, who will largely benefit from rail, as well as visitors.
We are strongly urging the legislature to reject Senate Bill 1183 and encourage you all to submit opposing testimony as well. For more information on how to reach your legislators, please contact our Director of Government Affairs Jared Higashi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mahalo to everyone who helped HYPE (Hospitality's Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs) celebrate its first anniversary, especially to our sponsors International Market Place, Eating House 1849, MarketAdvantage, and Booking.com! We're looking forward to another successful year, and invite you all to join us!
This week I’d like to congratulate Stephanie Iona of Dow Agrosciences for being in the lead of our membership drive challenge with 2 referrals since February! I announced this initiative at our October GMM on Kauai as a means to spur our membership drive. Remember, if you refer 5 new HLTA members, you will be entered in a drawing to win a round-trip flight for two on any Alaska Airlines destination and a 3-night stay at a Marriott property. The member who recruits the most members will win a round-trip flight for two on any Island Air destination and a 2-night stay at an Aqua-Aston Property.
Mahalo to the members who have successfully referred one new member each:
The ending of April marks the “make it or break it” mile in the Hawaii state legislative session as bills are now going through conference committees. Most of our priority bills are still in their conference committees where deliberations are being made by both chambers in coming up with compromise language.
I would however like to report that late last week Senate Bills 686 and 683 were recommitted by the House in conference, thereby killing the measures for this session. These two bills addressed tacking a surcharge to residential investment properties as well as visitor accommodations for the purpose of funding public education. As much as we support public education given all that the industry does individually and collectively for the youth of our state, this was one of our association's priority measures as we are highly opposed to bills that further add tax levies on the visitor industry. As a recap, the proposed senate bills would have called for a constitutional amendment that would established a $3.00 a night surcharge on hotel rooms under $150, and a $5 a night surcharge on accommodations that are over $150. This is a very big victory for our industry but as this is the first session in the legislative biennium the bill will automatically carry over to the next session where we must stay vigilant shall it once again surface.
On the Honolulu City Council front we continue to push to oppose the mayor's proposed 50-cent (per $1,000) increase in the hotel and resort real property tax classification. Resolution 17-70 which addresses this increase is being heard on Wednesday April 26th by the City Council for public reading. If you need help in submitting testimony in opposition to this measure, please feel free to contact our Director of Government & Community Affairs, Jared Higashi, at email@example.com or at 923-0407.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 marked the end of a 7-month mentorship program between Hawaii's top general managers and hospitality students from Brigham Young University-Hawaii, Hawaii Pacific University, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. HLTA 's President & CEO initiated the inaugural Generational Mentoring program with the assistance of Art Sarkissian of Here and Now Consulting, and involved sharing core values, learning emotional intelligence, and developing leadership skills.
The close of the 7-month program was celebrated with a luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa, where the mentors and mentees were awarded certificates and shared insight on their experience. Mahalo to Dean Thomas Bingham of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Dr. Jerry Agrusa of Hawaii Pacific University, Steve Lundgren of Brigham Young Univeristy, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa, and all of our Mentors and Mentees.
See what some of the mentors and mentees said about the program:
“I couldn't have been happier to be matched with Grace as my mentee! We both agreed there were 3 sessions we felt were most valuable - identifying her Core Values, E.I. and Influencing skills. These were our lengthiest and deepest discussions. It has been a rewarding experience for me to participate in this first inaugural mentorship program and I hope this will be expanded and offered to more TIM students next year. Thank you Mufi and HLTA for jumpstarting this program to develop our future industry leaders!” Phyllis Branco, Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo.
"Through HLTA’s well structured program by Art Sarkissian of Here and Now Consulting and the excellent guidance by Mr. Niel Mason at Outrigger Ohana East, I have gradually understood the essentials to become a successful General Manager. I feel blessed to have been chosen for the program and given the opportunity to be better prepared for a career in the Hospitality Industry. I am very thankful to all the great professionals I have met and especially to Mr. Mufi Hannemann and the entire HLTA for believing in me as a HPU Student," Isabella Brostroem, Hawaii Pacific University.
"I was thrilled to share topics i.e. “Emotional Intelligence” and “The Power Of Storytelling” which certainly were not initially available to me as I shaped my hospitality career. As for my student…Wow!!! Look out hospitality universe…this generation is beyond impressive. Trang is a bright, articulate, fiercely goal oriented future leader who will no doubt generate success… this program allowed me the opportunity to do a little storytelling of my own, which I hope will add some light to Trang’s many future opportunities and experiences," Thomas Foti, Wailea Beach Resort - Marriott, Maui.
"I am so grateful I got the opportunity to be mentored by Lynette Eastman. She is an amazing lady and I learned a lot from her experiences and her knowledge that she shared with me. I learned how to prepare myself for my future potentials ahead of me, and learned how to be professional in the business world especially in the hotel industry. I loved every minutes of our meeting when Lynette was talking about what to treasure in life. Lynette cared about the potential of others. She cared about her employees and every body around her. One of the vital items she taught me was very well explained are core values and how these will help me in life with finding a career. I will always remember this mentorship program because it taught me how to be a professional future employee and how to always walk that path," Toetu Lepule, Brigham Young University - Hawaii.
“My personal experience with Generational Mentoring has been amazing. My mentor, Kelly Hoen, is a spectacular mentor and leader. She holds all the values and characteristics I look for in a leader. The skills I learned through this program will be the foundation of my career. My core values of Polished, Thoughtful, and Enthusiastic will help guide me in my leadership style and navigate me through my career.
Thank you HLTA for this wonderful opportunity and I have really enjoyed my time," Derek Lin, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
“Mentoring our future Generation for a career in Hospitality is a great honor. My mentee, Estelle was so engaged and prepared for every session. An absolute pleasure.
I learned a lot about what the next generation of our Hospitality leaders are looking for in their career experience. I feel this program is a great experience for both the Mentor and Mentee.
Congratulations to HLTA for being the pacesetter on an industry wide program that looks to developing our next generation of hospitality Leaders," Cheryl Williams, The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort.
See below for the full list of mentors and mentees:
Brigham Young University - Hawaii:
Steve Lundgren, Manager, Center for Hospitality & Tourism
Mentor: Julie Arigo, Waikiki Parc Hotel
Mentor: Lynette Eastman, Surfjack & Waikiki Pearl
Hawaii Pacific University:
Jerome Agrusa, Ph.D., Chair/Professor, Hospitality Tourism & Management
Mentor: Denise Wardlow, Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
Mentor: Niel Mason, Outrigger OHANA
Mentor: Phyllis Branco, Hilo Nani Loa Hotel
Mentor: Charles Young, Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach
University of Hawaii at Manoa:
Thomas Bingham, Dean, School of Travel Industry Management
Mentor: Kelly Hoen, The MODERN HONOLULU
Mentor: Angela Nolan, Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas
Mentor: Cheryl Williams, Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort
Mentor: Craig Anderson, Mauna Kea Resort
Mentor: Thomas Foti, Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Sp
Here at HLTA, we have consistently been taking on new initiatives and expanding benefits to our members. One of the initiatives we started this year in honor of our 70th Anniversary is the addition of several new scholarships, the latest being two $2500 scholarship for one Active and one Allied member’s immediate relative. Candidates for this scholarship should be a son or daughter of an HLTA member employee who is graduating from high school, admitted to a university, college, or vocational institution, and holds a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher. We ask that no general managers or c-suite level executives apply for this award.
To apply, candidates must be vetted through their HLTA member, and each member can submit up to two (2) qualified applicants to firstname.lastname@example.org or the HLTA office (2270 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 1702, Honolulu, HI, 96815) by Monday, May 1, 2017.
Other scholarships we have introduced this year include: two additional $2500 scholarships at the Citizen-Scholar awards, totaling to four $2500 scholarships for a top student from Maui, Hawaii Island, Kauai, and Oahu on top of the $1000 scholarship each student receives from a participating HLTA member; the Don Ho Legacy scholarship in conjunction with the Pauahi Foundation for a student of Hawaiian ancestry pursuing music or performing arts at the community college or university level and the HLTA Ho’okipa Award which was recently presented at the Maui AgFest to a student from Maui High School pursuing her studies in hospitality.
Last year, one of our initiatives included the launch of a young professionals committee called HYPE – Hospitality’s Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs. This is a group I modeled off of my Pacific Century Fellows program, and I am proud to see it flourish into the success it is today after just one year. In fact, HYPE will be celebrating its first anniversary on Tuesday, April 25 at the International Market Place Grand Lanai, and we invite you to join in on the fun with them and learn what HYPE is all about.
As I mentioned in a previous Mufi’s Message, we have also been working on starting three new committees: Agriculture, Housekeeping, and Technology. All of these committees have started to get the gears turning, and I’m pleased to announce that the Housekeepers Advisory Council (HAC) has just launched and is now taking housekeeping professionals from both lodging properties and allied businesses into its membership.
This group will focus on learning opportunities including the latest trends in regards to housekeeping, best practices, health & safety, as well as scholarships, career opportunities and professional development.
We invite you to contact Dean Nakasone at email@example.com for membership information or questions about the Housekeeping Advisory Council.
In the realm of government affairs the Honolulu City Council Budget Committee held a special meeting regarding the city’s budget on April 11th. During this meeting our bill of concern, Bill 31 (2017), which proposes to raise the real property tax on the hotel and resort classification was replaced with Resolution 17-70 which seeks to accomplish the same increase. The Resolution’s effect would raise the real property tax rate for hotels and resorts by 50 cents on the $1,000, this would take the current rate of $12.90 to $13.40. Those that will be affected by these increases are not just the hotels themselves but all vendors that lease space from a hotel. HLTA will be holding a third meeting to strategize engagement on this issue this Wednesday, April 19th at the HLTA office at 4:00 pm, if you are interested in participating please feel free to contact Jared Higashi at firstname.lastname@example.org. The resolution will now head to the full council which will slot it for reading next week Wednesday, April 26th at 10:00 am (unless mentioned otherwise).
We send a big mahalo to all the industry stakeholders who have supported testimony in opposition to this increase and look forward to further participation from the industry as we battle the proposed resolution.
*Click here to see HLTA's testimony regarding the real property tax increase.
Now on the Legislative front, April 13th marked the second crossover of the 2017 Hawai‘i State legislative session. During this time all bills that are still alive will cross back over to their originating chambers (House/Senate) where the committee chairs that handled the bill throughout session will have the opportunity to opine on the matter. If there is a disagreement to any portion of the measure the bill will go to conference committee. Conference committee constitutes of appointed members from each chamber (House/Senate) where the goal is to come to an agreement on each bill’s final language.
It is anticipated that most, if not all, substantial measures will end up in conference committee which has become the case with all of HLTA’s tracked bills. To access a list of our measures please feel free to visit our legislative tracker at: http://www.hawaiilegislativetracker.com/hlta/ClientBills.aspx
The conference committee meetings will ensue over the next 2 weeks where we will be hard at work advocating for our priority measures and opposing those that will harm our industry.
Lastly, we would like to thank all industry stakeholders who contributed testimony to the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Tourism, and Technology for the confirmation of the gubernatorial appointment of Kelly Sanders to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s board of directors.
The committee has consented to Kelly Sander’s nomination. We commend Governor Ige in his nomination of Kelly as it underscores the strong belief that HLTA holds that people who have experience and come from the visitor industry can contribute immensely to our cause.
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