Meeting with Marriott International's Executive Team
Yesterday afternoon, I joined the Marriott International leadership team to speak on HLTA’s and the visitor industry’s legislative priorities. Marriott International Area Vice President (Hawai‘i & French Polynesia) Harris Chan, and newly appointed Hawai‘i Tourism Authority President, Chris Tatum, were accompanied by Marriott General Managers and key executives from across the state for one of their annual executive meetings. During my presentation, I covered our key priorities: from the regulation of transient vacation rentals at the county level, to the implementation of an airports corporation, defending against transient accommodations taxes on resort fees, and our homelessness and public safety initiatives.
Additionally, I covered the hot topic of “overtourism,” a term that has been coined by many to describe the increasing number of tourists that are visiting destinations throughout the world - resulting, in many instances, in draconian measures aimed at halting tourism.
We should view and deal with “ overtourism" by keeping the following three points in mind:
1. It is not enough to simply focus on marketing tourism - we need to be equally concerned about managing tourism better;
2. We, as a state, should be targeting quality tourism rather than focusing strictly on quantity tourism;
3. We, as an industry, need to be at the table when such discussions are held so that we can help guide these community deliberations in a thoughtful and measured manner.
As I have stated repeatedly, major kudos to Kaua‘i and Maui, through the hard work of our HLTA Chapters, county government, and industry partners, in developing Tourism Strategic Plans to address this issue.
If there are any organizations or businesses within the HLTA membership that would like me to present our legislative priorities and advocacy efforts, on behalf of our industry, to your team, please contact my Senior Director of Government & Community Affairs, Jared Higashi, at email@example.com.
Kaiali‘i Kahele, District 1
Dru Kanuha, District 3
*Lorraine Inouye, District 4
*J. Kalani English, District 7
Sharon Moriwaki, District 12
Clarence Nishihara, District 17
Michelle Kidani, District 18
Kurt Fevella, District 19
Hawai‘i House of Representatives
Christopher Todd, District 2
Richard Onishi, District 3
David Tarnas, District 7
*Troy Hashimoto, District 8
*Justin Woodson, District 9
*Kyle Yamashita, District 12
Lynn DeCoite, District 13
*James Tokioka, District 15
Gene Ward, District 17
Calvin Say, District 20
Tom Brower, District 22
Takashi Ohno, District 27
*Daniel Holt, District 29
Romy Cachola, District 30
*Sam Kong, District 33
Val Okimoto, District 36
Ryan Yamane, District 37
Bob McDermott, District 40
Chris Fidelibus, District 41
*Sharon Har, District 42
Stacelynn Eli, District 43
*Scot Matayoshi, District 49
Cynthia Thielen, District 50
Hawai‘i County Council
*Valerie Poindexter, District 1
*Ashley Kierkiewicz, District 4
*Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder, District 5
*Maile David, District 6
Rebecca Villegas, District 7
*Herbert “Tim” Richards, District 9
Maui County Council
Rick Nava, West Maui
Alice Lee, Wailuku-Waihe‘e-Waikapu
Alan Arakawa, Kahului
Kelly King, South Maui
Mike Molina, Makawao-Haiku-Pa‘ia
Yuki Lei Sugimura, Upcountry
Riki Hokama, Lana‘i
Stacy Helm Crivello, Moloka‘i
Kaua‘i County Council
Honolulu City Council
Trevor Ozawa, District 4
*Carol Fukunaga, District 6
Kelly Kitashima, District 8
Asterisk* - Denotes those that won their seat in the Primary Election.
As we near the 2018 General Elections, I implore you to help us change the stigma that Hawai‘i residents simply don’t vote. This is your chance to elect those to office who will champion your community, your business, and your way of life.
Waipahu High School: Aiming to be the first nationally accreditedCulinary and Tourism academy in the State.
In pursuit of this goal I convened a meeting this week between industry stakeholders and key faculty members of Waipahu High School. In attendance from the industry were HLTA Chairperson Glenn Vergara from the Waikiki Resort Hotel, Gary Manago from the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel, Dylan Ching and Kelii Gouveia from Duke’s Restaurants, and Waipahu alumnus Rick Egged from the Waikiki Improvement Association. During the meeting we discussed the opportunity to improve upon the transition of students into the workforce by pairing businesses that offer high school internships with the academy. Additionally, we also explored the idea of inciting interest with our hotels and restaurants to offer externships for teachers and faculty members. As we progress forward with creating this nationally recognized academy, we will convene a follow-up meeting by years end to engage our Ko Olina and Kapolei lodging members as well as they share a close proximity to the high school. The goal will be to create standards and expectations between both our members and Waipahu high school in this new collaboration. If you or your company is interested in participating with this new initiative please feel free to contact the HLTA office at (808) 923-0407 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Tourism 101: Waikiki – past, present, and future
To view the full episode click HERE.
A Visit from Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows
Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Relief Drive
In Case You Missed It
Generational Mentoring Kick-off Mixer
Our Generational Mentoring Program provides students pursuing Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees in tourism or hospitality industry management, the opportunity to have one-on-one personalized leadership and career development coaching from a seasoned leader in the industry.
During our Kick-off Mixer, we unveiled the pairings for this year’s class and gave all the attendees an opportunity to bond as a group. Over the next six months, mentees and mentors alike will learn and grow through a special curriculum developed by HLTA and Here and Now Consulting Founder, Art Sarkissian and we will also add some new exciting activities this year. The program will conclude on April 25th with a commencement luncheon, where I look forward to hearing the lessons that have been shared.
HIP: General Election Edition
As a recap, candidates were required to submit tourism-based questionnaires which were thoroughly vetted by representatives from HLTA’s county chapters, the Endorsement Committee, and the Board of Directors. This comprehensive process was implemented to ensure that the candidate’s agendas aligned with our organization’s key pillars and that they would advocate for our industry concerns.
I would like to send a big shout out to the candidates that traveled near and far to join us that night. Mahalo to Lieutenant Governor Candidate, Senator Josh Green, who was accompanied by Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, for demonstrating his commitment to the industry as he took time out of his own fundraiser to be with us. A warm mahalo to incumbents Rep. Tom Brower, Rep. Sam Kong, Rep. Takashi Ohno, and Rep. Richard Onishi for attending. I would also like to acknowledge newly-elected Representative Scot Matayoshi, Maui mayoral candidate Mike Victorino, State candidates Kurt Fevella, Sharon Moriwaki, and Val Okimoto, and Honolulu City Council candidate Kelly Kitashima for taking time to mix and mingle with our members.
Mahalo to our partners: HLTA Board Member Barbara Campbell, VP of Retail Leasing & Property Management of Outrigger Hotel and Resorts, Martha Seroogy and her team at Blue Note Hawaii, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and Duke’s Waikiki for your support of this event. The venue and entertainment were fantastic, the food was superb, and the company was delightful.
Don’t forget that Election Day is on November 6th - please go out and vote!
Queen Kapiolani Grand Opening Party
2018 Harvest Ag Festival
I would like to send a special shout out to HLTA Board Member Stephanie Iona of Corteva Agrosciences, as she is the heart and soul of this event. Congratulations on another successful Harvest Ag Festival.
HLTA Talks Story with Mayoral Candidates
(Below) HLTA and its Kauai Chapter, host Kauai mayoral candidate Councilmember Derek Kawakami at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club.
Likewise on Kaua‘i, we partnered with the HLTA Kaua‘i Chapter to host mayoral candidate Councilmember Derek Kawakami at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club with members of the Kaua‘i Chapter Board. At both meetings, we shared state and county perspectives for what we as an industry hope to accomplish legislatively in the coming years. With a mere 11 days left till the General Election, we continue to advocate on behalf of our endorsed candidates and encourage you to support the friends of our industry as well.
Ka 'Ikena Holiday Fundraiser
To register for the Ka ‘Ikena Holiday reception, please click HERE.
aio Media Hawai'i Lodging and Tourism Awards
Nominations can be made at www.hawaiimagazine.com/hlta
Stay tuned as we release more details on the aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards taking place on March 1, 2019 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
GMM Recap - and a Special Announcement for May 29 & 30, 2019
Moreover, we were incredibly fortunate to see the halau of the three kumu hula come together later that night in a special show created just for our Friday evening reception , according to Pili Pang. It was a wonderful experience full of storytelling, wonderful live music, hula and fellowship- all of this led by the extremely talented Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning artist Robert Cazimero.
Following the introductory program, I gave my annual State of the Industry Address, where I recapped the key issues and accomplishments of our organization through 2018 and gave insights on our upcoming endeavors for 2019 and beyond. I always look forward to this aspect of our GMM.
I also capitalized on the moment and unveiled some BIG news. I announced HLTA’s partnership with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the Hawaii Restaurant Association to present the inaugural Hawaii Hotel, Restaurant & Travel Show which will take place on May 29th & 30th of next year.
This will showcase the very best in Hawaii’s hospitality industry and feature educational seminars, live demonstrations, interactive attractions and the latest trends in technology. We have been working diligently to put this formidable partnership together and it will be a wonderful new addition to our lineup of activities in 2019!
Mahalo to Star Advertiser’s President and Publisher Dennis Francis for recognizing the important work that HLTA does in the community!
Ka 'Ikena Holiday Fundraiser
To register for the Ka ‘Ikena Holiday reception, please click HERE.
Ritz-Carlton Residence Waikiki Opens Its Doors to Its Second Tower
191st General Membership Meeting Begins Today
We have a full agenda with a wide range of content awaiting upon your check-in later today or tomorrow.
During our Friday “Lunch and Learn” segment, I am looking forward to hearing from HLTA-endorsed candidates Maui Mayoral Candidate Mike Victorino and Representative Richard Onishi, Chair of the House Committee on Tourism. We will also hear from Honolulu City and County Council Budget Chair Trevor Ozawa, and newcomer Sharon Moriwaki, who albeit is no stranger to the Capitol, and is running for the 12th Senatorial District seat encompassing the areas between Waikiki and Kakaako.
This plenary session will also host a special Hawaiian culture panel, featuring Kumu Hula Robert Cazimero, Kumu Hula Michael Pili Pang, and Kumu Hula Vicky Holt Takamine who will be speaking about the increasing importance of bothunderstanding and conveying the deep significance of the Hawaiian culture. One of Hawai'i's greatest strengths is the spirit of aloha, a unique quality that has been enriched through our islands’ history and people, and one of the best ways we can serve our guests is to illustrate, educate, and exemplify that during their time here.
The Friday Lunch and Learn, is but one of the many events we will be holding this weekend during our annual meeting. As we kick off our 191st GMM today with our golf scramble and HYPE Emotional Intelligence networking seminar, I would like to welcome you all to the Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina. See you soon!
HIP: General Election Edition, Monday 10/22
Generational Mentoring Kick-Off Next Friday, 10/19
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