Japan Hawai'i Travel Association
Last Thursday, I had the honor of participating in a panel discussion that was hosted by the Japan Hawaii Travel Association as part of their annual seminar. I joined Senate Tourism Chair Glenn Wakai, House Tourism Chair Richard Onishi, and HTA President and CEO Chris Tatum for a lengthy conversation that was moderated by Kim Gennaula Hagi. We covered a variety of topics and issues that Hawai‘i’s visitor industry are currently facing including visitor safety, responsible tourism, managing “over tourism”, and the current state and direction of the Japanese market. This was followed by a short Q&A session during which a number of intriguing questions and ideas were raised. Mahalo JHTA for inviting me to participate in this year’s seminar.
Pictured from left to right are HTA President and CEO Chris Tatum, Senator Glenn Wakai, Mufi, Kim Gennaula Hagi, JHTA President and CEO Hiroyuki Kitagawa, and Representative Richard Onishi.
Hawai'i Island Allocations
On Tuesday night, I made the trip to Hawai‘i Island to attend the final Charity Walk check allocation event for 2019. This year, HLTA’s Hawai‘i Island Chapter raised a record $385,000. These monies were given to 58 different local nonprofits who contributed in a variety of ways to the success of this year’s event. Congratulations and mahalo to all who helped make this possible.
As we close the books on Charity Walk 2019, I want to express my deepest thanks to Hawai‘i Island Chapter Chair Craig Anderson, Hawai‘i Island Charity Walk Chair Steve Yannarell, and Charity Walk Admin Bambi Lau for all of their hard work this year. I am already excited for next year’s Charity Walk and can’t wait to see what benchmarks we surpass in 2020 and beyond.
Pictured from left to right are Hawai'i Island Chapter Chair Craig Anderson, Mufi, Charity Walk Admin Bambi Lau, and Hawai'i Island Charity Walk Chair Steve Yannarell.
2019 R.W. "Bob" Holden Scholars
Noah Matagi Magalei and his family came by the HLTA offices to pick up his scholarship check and talk about his plans for the future. Pictured in the front row from left to right: Malosi, Tu'ufuli, and Sasha. Back row, left to right, Mufi, Noah, and Noah's mother Lila.
I was pleased to meet with two more HLTA scholarship awardees. 2019 R.W. “Bob” Holden Scholarship winners Noah Matagi Magalei and Gellyn Flores both visited me at the HLTA offices to pick up their scholarship checks and talk story about their future plans in the visitor industry.
Gellyn is a student at the University of Hawaii – West Oahu where she is pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Hospitality & Tourism and Marketing. She is a UH – West Oahu Chancellor’s Scholarship recipient and is currently completing an internship at the Four Seasons Resort O‘ahu. She is an outstanding student who has taken advantage of every opportunity afforded to her including HLTA’s Generational Mentorship Program during which she was advised by The Kahala Hotel & Resort General Manager Gerald Glennon.
Noah is a junior at Brigham Young University – Hawaii where he is majoring in Hospitality & Tourism. An Eagle Scout and former athlete, Noah is also a member of the Ho‘okipa Society which is a Hospitality & Tourism Management organization. He is also a former participant in our Generational Mentoring Program where he was mentored by Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club’s General Manager Christina Gabriel. Noah successfully completed the program in the spring of this year.
Congratulations Gellyn and Noah! I am confident that you will both go on to enjoy successful careers in this industry and I look forward to seeing you accomplish big things.
2019 R.W. "Bob" Holden Scholar Gellyn Flores met with me today to pick up her scholarship check. She then immediately turned and headed back to the Four Seasons Resort O'ahu for her shift. It was such a pleasure to be able to meet with her and talk about her goals.
Ka 'Ikena 2019
Please join me at Ka ‘Ikena 2019 which is to be held on Tuesday, September 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. It will be an exciting evening where you will get to taste dishes prepared by the best and brightest of Kapi‘olani Community College’s Culinary Arts Program while also helping to raise funds that will benefit the culinary program. You will be amazed by the talents of these budding young chefs who represent the future of Hawai‘i’s restaurant industry. Please join us for this wonderful event where HLTA will also be honoring the latest recipient of the HLTA Scholarship in the Culinary Arts.
Pacific Century Fellows - Class of 2019
The Pacific Century Fellows (PCF) Program has announced its 17th cohort which includes 35 outstanding individuals who represent the best and brightest that Hawai‘i has to offer. This year’s class features a diverse group of men and women who come from a variety of backgrounds including financial institutions, healthcare, government, tourism, and the nonprofit sector, among others. Over the next nine months, Fellows will meet each month for an “education day” that will provide them with an in-depth look at a myriad of issues that affect Hawai‘i today. With these newfound perspectives, the Fellows will be encouraged to be more active citizens while applying what they have learned throughout the course of the program.
HLTA members and the visitor industry as a whole are well-represented in this year’s class. New Fellows from our membership include:
I founded PCF in 1996 based on the transformative experience that I had while participating in the White House Fellows program during the Reagan administration. Since PCF’s inception, nearly 475 people have successfully completed the PCF program and have gone on to successful and impactful careers in a multitude of fields. Two of the Fellows who were selected by a blue-ribbon panel of community leaders, in particular, come with strong visitor industry experience and backgrounds. Keli‘i Gouveia has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the restaurant industry that saw him progress from security to General Manager of Duke’s Waikiki, the position which he currently holds. Keli‘i also serves as chairman of the Hawai’i Restaurant Association’s Board of Directors and spends countless hours mentoring high school culinary students at Duke’s. HLTA Senior Director of Government and Community Affairs Jared Higashi has been a fixture in the HLTA offices for the past five years and has done exceptional work in our government relations and charity walk endeavors.
The tourism industry has also figured prominently in previous PCF classes. Last year’s Fellows included Dylan Ching who is the Area General Manager for TS Restaurants with oversight responsibilities for Waikiki and Kaua‘i. Also present in the Class of 2018 was Daniel Chun who is the Director of Sales, Community & Public Relations for Hawai’i at Alaska Airlines and who also serves on the HLTA Board of Directors. Other Fellows included Marriott International Senior Account Manager Allison Tomisato Alves and Founder of Akamai Training & Consulting, Corey Campbell, both of whom have been active in HLTA HYPE committee activities.
My congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2019 as they embark on this next journey in their personal and professional development.
Ka 'Ikena 2019
Our 8th Annual Ka ‘Ikena Reception is being held earlier than usual this year and the date is fast approaching. Please join me and my team on Tuesday, September 24th at the Ka ‘Ikena Dining Room at Kapi‘olani Community College where you will not only get to experience delicious dishes prepared by KCC culinary students but also help to support the very program that is training them for the future.
If you’ve attended this event in the past, you already know what an amazing experience it is. Exquisite cuisine, great company, and a wonderful time is to be had by all. This is an exclusive event and is limited to the first 100 people to reserve their tickets. Do not wait- register today by clicking the link below.
Aloha Festivals Check Presentation
This past Saturday, I attended Aloha Festivals’ Royal Court Investiture and Opening Ceremony at The Royal Hawai’ian Hotel where I presented a check to event co-chair Sam Shenkus, of the Royal Hawai’ian Center, from our Visitor Industry Charity Walk. The ceremony officially kicked off Aloha Week, the single largest celebration of Hawai’ian culture in the nation. Interestingly enough, Aloha Week was founded in 1946 and HLTA, which was then known as Hawaii Hotel Association, was established in 1947. Both of these organizations have evolved alongside each other for the past 70 odd years. In addition to Aloha Week, Aloha Festivals oversees longstanding traditions like the annual Waikīkī Ho‘olaule‘a and the annual Floral Parade, both of which will be held later this month.
Yesterday afternoon, I was joined by two stalwart Chinatown advocates on HLTA’s online talk show, Tourism 101, at ThinkTech Hawaii. My guests for this episode were Honolulu Police Department Captain Mike Lambert and Neighborhood Commission Office Executive Director Shawn Hamamoto, who has also been tapped to serve as the City’s community liaison in the Chinatown area. To watch a recording of the episode, please click the following link.
Our topic this time around was the current state of Chinatown and how the City, HPD, local nonprofits, and the community are working to combat homelessness and make the neighborhood safe for all to enjoy. While many may think that HLTA mainly concerns itself with Waikiki and our “tourism” district, our mission includes making Hawai‘I a better place to live, work, and play for visitors and residents alike. In fact, just a few weeks ago HLTA, the Hawai‘i Hotel Industry Foundation, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, and the State of Hawaii presented checks to the Chinatown Improvement District and the Hawai‘i Health & Harm Reduction Center in support of their efforts to address the homelessness-related issues in the downtown Honolulu area as it is clear that many visitors also frequent and tour Chinatown.
Mahalo to ThinkTech Hawaii and their President and CEO Jay Fidell for the opportunity to host quality discussions of such important topics, and of course to HPD Captain Mike Lambert and Shawn for being great guests on the show. If you have an interesting topic or initiative that you would like to share with the community as it relates to tourism, please contact our Director of Communications, Jared Ellis, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ka 'Ikena 2019
Mufi is pictured above with the KCC culinary students who made Ka 'Ikena 2018 a shining success.
I am pleased to announce that HLTA will be holding its 8th Annual Ka ‘Ikena dinner at Kapi‘olani Community College on September 24, 2019. Once again we will gather members and their guests to taste the delicious creations of students who are enrolled in the culinary program at KCC. This event gives KCC’s chefs-in-training the chance to show their best work to some of our industry’s leaders while also raising awareness for their program. We also present a scholarship to a student enrolled in the culinary program. Please save the date. Bring your team, a bottle of wine, and join us to support KCC’s culinary students.
Rams - Cowboys
Saturday’s game was the first time that the NFL has hosted a professional game in Hawaii since 1976. Both teams expressed their gratitude to the local fanbase as they were blown away by the aloha spirit that they felt. I am hopeful that this reception will set the tone for many more opportunities with the NFL and HTA in the future.
While the game was exciting and the atmosphere in the stands was electric, I have to admit that my favorite part of this experience was the way that the league made an effort to connect with our community in such a positive way. I’ve covered this topic extensively in my previous messages so I won’t go into too much detail here. For more coverage of the game and its effect here in the islands, you can click the following links below:
"With success of Rams-Cowboys game, tourism officials hope for more," Hawaii News Now, August 19, 2019
"Cowboys-Rams pregame show: Tourism officials hopeful for Hawaii's future with NFL," Hawaii News Now, August 20, 2019
"The Rams-Cowboys matchup will be the first NFL preseason game since 1976: when will it return again," Honolulu Star-Advertiser, August 17, 2019
"NFL preseason game is a boost to local economy," KHON 2, August 15, 2019
Charity Walk Check Presentations
I have continued to meet with some of the strongest participants in this year’s Visitor Industry Charity Walk to present checks to outstanding organizations who had a strong showing, be it through donations or volunteer numbers, at this year’s walk. It has been such a pleasure to be able meet some of the leaders and members of groups like the Domestic Violence Action Center and the Japan-America Society of Hawaii and present them a check for their hard work and participation. JASH has been a supporter and recipient of Charity Walk funds for several years.
Pro Sports in Hawaii
The Los Angeles Cheerleaders held a cheer clinic at 'Iolani School for Hawai'i youth cheerleaders on June 15th. Seated in the second row are HLTA President and CEO Mufi Hanneman and Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Chris Tatum.
Mufi is pictured above speaking to a group of high school football players from around the state who participated in a skills clinic that was hosted by the L.A. Rams organization.
Aloha sports fans! Since we are heavily involved in working with HTA on the community engagement aspect of these activities, I wanted to give you a quick update.
We are just two days away from the return of the NFL to O‘ahu when the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys will meet in a preseason game at Aloha Stadium. Over the past week, the Rams have been busy hosting numerous engagement activities including visits to Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Schofield Barracks, a Fan Rally at the Rams’ pop-up location at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, and multiple football clinics for boys and girls of all ages. The Rams cheerleaders have also been busy this week putting on fitness workshops and a Yoga in the Park session at Ward Village. HLTA staff has been coordinating the one Rams practice that is open to the public on Friday by ensuring that our youth have an opportunity to see them at Cooke Field. It has been overwhelmingly positive to see how the Rams have worked to connect with our community.
Click here to read Ferd Lewis' article about the upcoming game.
While the Rams-Cowboys game has received much fanfare and hype, I would also like to alert you to another professional sports organization that will soon be in Hawaii. The Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP), and its nonprofit youth programming arm, AVPFirst, have partnered with the HTA to offer 17 beach volleyball clinics. These are to be held from August 19 through September 22 on O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Island, Moloka‘i, and Lana‘i. We have been helping to schedule these clinics which will be free of charge, open to the public, and will be led by current AVP players, former Olympian and six-time AVP champion Kevin Wong, and current Outrigger Canoe Club coach, Lia Young Hunt among many more.
The clinics have been scheduled to coincide with the AVP Hawaii Open, the final event of the 2019 AVP season. The Open will run from September 20-22 on the Fort DeRussy beachfront. All matches will be free to watch and will offer fun for the whole family with live music, food and beverage options, and meet and greet opportunities. If you are interested in attending the one of the clinics, please visit www.bgch.com for more information
Please visit AVPFirst.org for up-to-date dates and times of clinics.
Kaua'i Check Presentations
On Tuesday, I traveled to Kaua‘i to take part in the HLTA Kaua‘i Chapter’s Check Presentation Event where monies were awarded to organizations for their participation in the Kaua‘i Chapter’s Charity Walk. This year, the Garden Isle raised a record $451,051. Kaua‘i’s fundraising totals have grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years and they are closer than ever to surpassing O‘ahu which is their friendly overarching goal!
Mahalo to HLTA Chapter Chair Paul Toner, the entire Kaua‘i Chapter Steering Committee, and committee co-chairs Chip Bahouth and Jacob Vogelgesang for their leadership throughout the planning and execution of this year’s Charity Walk. Special thanks are also due to Kaua’i Chapter Executive Director Morgan Lopez who has been doing a great job in all aspects of the Kaua'i HLTA operations .
Pictured from left are Marriott's Waiohai Beach Club General Manager Beres Wall, Mufi, and co-chairs of the HLTA Kaua'i Chapter Charity Walk Committee, Chip Bahouth and Jacob Vogelgesang.
Youth For Christ Hawaii
As we begin to wrap up our Charity Walk events for 2019, I’ve had the chance to present checks to some of the groups that participated in this year’s walk. On Tuesday evening, I was proud to present a check for $22,500 to Youth for Christ Hawai‘i during their annual fundraising dinner at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i. This is the third year that YFC Hawai'i has taken part in our walk and, for the 3rd year in a row, they raised the most monies of any nonprofit organization and also brought out lots of volunteers. Congratulations and mahalo to YFC Hawaii for leading the charge among our nonprofit participants year after year.
Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association Holds its 20th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament
Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association’s 20th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament was held yesterday, August 8, at the Hawaii Prince Golf Club in Ewa Beach. My sincere mahalo to all of the golfers who were able to attend our tournament and support our cause. None of this would be possible without your participation and support.
This year’s tournament was sold out with 84 teams and 252 golfers taking part in the festivities. We were also privileged to have Ewa’s State Senator Kurt Fevella, a strong advocate for our industry, welcome us to his community. The success of our golf tournament each year is crucial as the funds raised yesterday will support various scholarships that we award on an annual basis. Scholarships like the R.W. “Bob” Holden Memorial Scholarship, the Clem Judd, Jr. Memorial Scholarship and the four Most Outstanding Citizen Scholars are awarded each year to deserving Hawaii students. Additionally, HLTA offers numerous scholarships through partnerships with organizations like the University of Hawaii Foundation for community college and culinary programs, the Pauahi Foundation and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. All of this is made possible by the generosity of our supporters.
I would also like to thank the HLTA Scholarship Golf Tournament Committee led by committee co-chairs John Hulihe‘e of Central Pacific Bank and Don Takaki of Hawktree International and the countless volunteers from the UH TIM School and HPU and Kaiser Permanente. Hulihe‘e, in particular, added some new elements to make this 20th annual tournament a special one. Also especially deserving of recognition are the major sponsors of this year’s tournament. Mahalo to Diamond Sponsor Kaiser Foundation HealthPlan, Inc. and Sapphire Sponsor Central Pacific Bank!
Finally, I need to recognize and honor a special individual. HLTA bid a fond farewell to recently retired general manager of the Aston Waikiki Sunset Hotel, Doug Okada. Doug has been integral to our association, serving for 16 years on our Board of Directors, chairing the HLTA Membership Committee and has also been an active member of the HLTA Scholarship Golf Tournament Committee. (It is highly likely, that Doug has played in every HLTA golf tournament to date). I was pleased to present Doug with the Lifetime Legacy Kahi‘au Award for his many years of service to Oahu’s visitor industry and his endless support of HTLA. Mahalo Doug and we’ll see you at next year’s tournament!
HLTA Scholarship Awardees
Mufi and Ewa district State Senator Kurt Fevella presented the Clem Judd, Jr. Memorial Scholarship to UNLV student Ileana Nii. Also pictured is Ileana's mother, Mileka.
During a special ceremony at our golf tournament, I had the pleasure of presenting the Clem Judd, Jr. Memorial Scholarship to an outstanding young student of Hawaiian ancestry pursuing a career in the hospitality field. Ileana Nii is a graduate of Waipahu High School and is currently working towards her bachelor’s degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she is enrolled in the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality. Ileana was selected for this scholarship from among a pool of applicants based on the strength of her academic record and the high bar she has set for her future. Upon completing her undergraduate studies, Ileana aspires to return to Hawaii to open and manage a hotel that exposes visitors to the authentic Hawaiian culture rather than a commercialized facsimile of it. Congratulations to Ileana for being selected as our 2019 Clem Judd Scholar.
HLTA also recently awarded the R.W. “Bob” Holden Memorial Scholarship to three Hawaii residents who are pursuing degrees in hotel management. A special shout out to UH – West Oahu students Gellyn Flores and Jillian Paganiban, and Brigham Young University – Hawaii student Noah Magalei for being selected to receive this particular scholarship.
New HLTA Staff
Oahu Charity Walk Allocations Award 123 Nonprofits - A New Statewide Record Set of $2.66 Millions for 2019 Charity Walk!
This past Wednesday, we kicked off our statewide series of 2019 Visitor Industry Charity Walk allocations events with our first presentation here on Oahu at Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant.
The venue was lively, as over 200 members from our nonprofit community joined our Charity Walk volunteers to celebrate another fruitful year in our Tradition of Giving. As we enjoyed the ono food by Jade Dynasty and live music provided by Wayne Kaiwi and Friends, we said “mahalo” to all those that help make the Charity Walk a continued success.
The fun and fellowship was then followed by a short speech that I made to express my personal appreciation to all those who made the Charity Walk a rousing success. Next was the traditional highlight of the evening which was the awarding of the individual checks. This year, we raised a new record of $512,000 on Oahu which will help benefit 123 nonprofit organizations throughout the City & County of Honolulu. In many ways, these charitable organizations are the backbone of our community: they provide services and programs in the realm of homelessness, health, youth and education, and the environment, just to name a few.
As the recipients of the funds came up to receive their checks, it warmed my heart to see many of them express their gratitude and appreciation for the amazing generosity the visitor industry continuously provides.
The 41st annual event raised the bar again as we set a new record by raising a statewide total of $2.66 million! The neighbor island chapters will be following suit and will host their allocation events throughout the month of August, with Maui’s event taking place today.
As we hang our hat on the Oahu Walk, I would like to send a very big mahalo to HLTA’s Chair and two-time Charity Walk Statewide Chair Glenn Vergara; HLTA’s incoming Charity Walk Chair Cheryl Williams, who joined me on stage to hand out the checks; Jade Dynasty’s Alan Ho; our two veteran Charity Walk Emcee’s Bulla and Lynette Eastman; and to all the nonprofits who are helping to make Hawai‘i a better place to live, work, play and raise our families.
To read the press release for the 2019 Oahu Charity Walk allocations, click here.
Charity Walk Allocations for Maui County - $1.3 Million Raised and 101 Nonprofits Awarded
Maui County continues to break the $1 million mark, as they have exceeded this milestone for their fourth consecutive year. This year, they amassed a total of $1,316,956, proving once again that Maui truly is no ka oi in Charity Walk fundraising!
101 nonprofits were invited to the Sheraton Maui Resort earlier this morning for the Maui County Charity Walk allocations. The top fundraisers were recognized by Maui Charity Walk Chair Tets Yamazaki, and Maui Hotel and Lodging Association Executive Director Lisa Paulson during the ceremony.
Particular kudos go to:
Individuals Raising the Most Funds:
1st Place: Dr. Mary Trotto, Hale Kau Kau: $36,159
2nd Place: Joyce Kawakami, Feed My Sheep: $32,819
3rd Place: Dan Williams, West Side Hoops: $28,800
Non-profits Raising the Most Funds:
1st Place: Na Hoaloha: $72,430
2nd Place: Hale Makua $63,610
3rd Place: West Side Hoops: $55,827
I would like to send my congratulations to all the Maui County Charity Walk grant recipients, and thank you all for your hard work. We appreciate your efforts, and look forward to seeing you again for Charity Walk 2020.
Pictorial Membership Directory:
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