On Saturday, January 28, over 40 volunteers of HLTA's Oahu Chapter, Engineers Advisory Council, Women in Lodging & Tourism, and HYPE committees gathered for a beautification project at Kapiolani Park. Over the course of two hours, the group collectively painted over 40 park benches/tables, 2 signs, and 2 charcoal pits, and picked up trash in the surrounding area. After the beautification project, volunteers enjoyed bento lunches provided by the Honolulu Zoo's Taste of the Wild Catering and Oahu Chapter at a picnic in the Waikiki Aquarium's front gated area. It was a fantastic morning of community service, networking, and fun! Mahalo to the volunteers for participating, the Oahu Chapter for coordinating, Taste of the Wild Catering for the bentos, and Waikiki Aquarium for providing the picnic area and free admission to the aquarium.
Photos by Russ Sumida
On Tuesday, January 17, HLTA's Government Affairs Committee welcomed State Senator Glenn Wakai, Chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Tourism, and Technology, to speak with the committee about his legislative priorities this session in regards to the hospitality industry. The Senator shared similar priorities to the HLTA, including leveling the playing field between hotels and transient vacation units, creating an airport authority, and dedicating a portion of the TAT towards combating homelessness in resort areas. He spoke candidly, creating an intimate environment prime for open discussion.
After the session with Senator Wakai, HLTA President & CEO Mufi Hannemann and Government Affairs Committee Chair Chris Tatum opened HLTA's 2017 legislative priorities up for discussion, shared additional interests formulated by hospitality stakeholders, and invited the committee to offer input.
HLTA is looking forward to an exciting and productive legislative session, and we are inviting our members to help us kick it off by participating in Tourism Day at the Capitol on February 21, 2017. On February 3, HLTA is planning to hold its Lei Day at the Capitol visiting all the offices with a reminder flyer of our Tourism Day.
HLTA honored the best-of-the-best of its employees at the 27th Annual Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana (the hard-working people) Awards on Thursday, January 12, 2017. Nearly a thousand employees, family members, and industry representatives from throughout the state gathered for the luncheon ceremony, which was held at the Sheraton Waikiki Resort.
“We’re very proud to recognize the people who are the heart and soul of our visitor industry. They number in the tens of thousands across the state, and those we’re saluting today represent the finest among them. I’ve said many times before that while visitors are attracted by the four Ss—sun, sand, sea, and surf—it’s really another S, the spirit of aloha, that makes the greatest impression on people. The Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana honorees embody the aloha spirit at work and in the community, and we owe them a tremendous debt for their contributions to the success of our industry," said Mufi Hannemann, HLTA president and CEO.
A total of 14 awards were presented at the event, emceed by Hawaii State Senator Glenn Wakai, Senate Tourism Chair and HLTA Director of Communications Alexandra Roth.
Recipients of HLTA’s accolades are selected based on nominations submitted by their supervisors and co-workers, and are judged on the basis of outstanding and exceptional service to lodging guests, co-workers, and the community.
This year’s Na Po‘e Paahana award winners and runners-up are as follows:
Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year
1st Place – Lisalani Baybayan, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa
2nd Place – Alyssa Lende Kane, Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
3rd Place – Rosie Newton, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
Manager of the Year
1st Place – Precy Burbano, Mauna Lani Hotel & Bungalows
2nd Place – Eric Au, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
3rd Place – Kenneth Duane Sparkman, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
Housekeeper of the Year
1st Place – Eddie Macoco, Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort and Spa
2nd Place – Nenilia Eugenio, Trump International Hotel Waikiki
3rd Place – Irene Abordo, The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
Food & Beverage Person of the Year
1st Place – Mark Gonsalves, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
2nd Place – Yuen Nam Wong, The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
3rd Place – Alona Watson, The Westin Ka‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas
Engineering/Maintenance Person of the Year
1st Place – Danny Chounramany, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
2nd Place – Myron Yamamoto, Mauna Lani Hotel & Bungalows
3rd Place – Michael Sakaida, The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
Front Office Person of the Year
1st Place – Sherrie Smith, Waikiki Resort Hotel
2nd Place – Iwalani Segovia, Ala Moana Hotel
3rd Place – Nancy Jones, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Bell/Valet Person of the Year
1st Place – Kawika Maeda, Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
2nd Place – Ross Ramelb, Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
3rd Place – Ernesto Cabrera, Maui Beach Hotel
Security Officer of the Year
1st Place – Jose Castellanos, Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
2nd Place – Curtis Aiwohi, Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort and Spa
3rd Place – Jarrett Hew, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
Allied Member of the Year
Oahu Publications, Inc. was named the Allied Member of the Year. The company was recognized as a valuable member of the HLTA for its support of Hawai‘i’s visitor industry and the community.
Leader in Sustainability Award
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, for their exemplary sustainability practices including innovative solutions to reducing the hotels energy and water usage.
Hospitality Educator of the Year
Jerry Agrusa, Hawaii Pacific University, for his strong engagement with the HLTA and enduring support of Hawai‘i’s future hospitality leaders.
Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Legacy Award
Society of Seven, for playing an instrumental role in Hawaii’s visitor industry through the field of culture, arts, and entertainment for 5 decades.
Woman of the Year Award
Barbara Campbell, Outrigger Enterprises Group, for her leadership within the hospitality industry, community and HLTA’s Women in Lodging & Tourism committee.
Restaurateur of the Year
Roy Yamaguchi, for his significant contributions to Hawai‘i’s culinary industry and the community.
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