Awarding scholarships is a major objective of HLTA. One of our challenges with our scholarships is identifying worthy and eligible candidates each and every year, especially the applications that have specific criteria. Determined to revitalize our scholarship activity with the Pauahi Foundation, I reached out to Pauahi trustee Lance Wilhelm, who put me in touch with Pauahi's interim executive director Pono Ma'a, both long time friends of mine, and in a series of meetings we managed to revitalize the process. Last Thursday, HLTA Vice President Dean Nakasone and Oahu Chapter chairperson Bonnie Kiyabu of the Hyatt, a Kamehameha alumnus, attended the Pauahi Foundation’s Ko‘olua Reception at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus to recognize the recipients of this year's HLTA’s Pouhana Hokele and the Don Ho Legacy scholarships.
The Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association Pouhana Hokele Scholarship, which underwent a name change this year, supports students pursuing a career in the visitor industry with an emphasis on hotel management. Recipients of this scholarship aim to pursue a career in the lodging industry in Hawaii upon graduation. This year’s HLTA Pouhana Hokele scholarship recipients were Bree Blake of Kapi‘olani Community College (KCC) and Trent Sakuma, who also attends KCC.
Blake was born and raised in Koloa, Kauai and moved to O’ahu in January of 2016 to pursue a Tourism Industry Management major and Japanese language minor at KCC. She grew up volunteering through her church, participating in community service projects such as visiting the elderly at the Kauai Care Home, cleaning up the veteran’s graveyard in Hanapepe, and volunteering at the humane society.
Sakuma is pursuing his education in Hospitality Management and Hawaiian Studies with aspirations to one day become a Cultural Director at the Sheraton Waikiki. He has been working in the tourism industry with 8 years as a Tour Driver, and volunteers as a Makai Watcher at the Pupukea-Waimea Marine Life Conservation District, where he educates visitors and community members about preserving Hawaii’s coastal areas.
This year, we introduced the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association Don Ho Legacy scholarship, which supports students who are pursuing post-high school studies in the field of arts and music. The recipient of this year’s scholarship was Daylan-Blake Kalai, who will be attending New York University this Fall to pursue a career in acting. A Hilo native, Kalai recently graduated from Kamehameha Schools on the Big Island, where he was greatly involved in the performing arts program. Last year, he starred in the Hawaiian language opera Ha‘upu, which took him and his classmates to Edinburgh, Scotland to perform in the world’s largest performing arts festival.
This Thursday evening, the Kauai Chamber of Commerce will be holding their 2nd Quarter Membership Meeting at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, sponsored by their Na Molokama sponsors, DOW AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer and Hartung Brothers in partnership with HLTA and our Kauai Chapter. This is the second time that we have engaged with the Kauai Chamber in supporting one of their meetings.
The theme is athletics with a focus on "Sports Tourism" through the University of Hawai'i. HLTA took the lead in working with the University of Hawai'i Athletic Department to put together an all-star lineup of its coaches to participate at the Chamber's quarterly meeting. The evening will feature UH Athletic Director David Matlin as a guest speaker, accompanied by Assistant Athletic Director Lois Manin, and Associate Athletic Director of External Affairs Joel Matsunaga. And, the coaches of seven UH sports teams will be there including: Football Nick Rolovich, Men’s Basketball Eran Ganot, Women's Basketball Laura Beeman, Men's Volleyball Charlie Wade, Women's Beach Volleyball Jeff Hall, Men’s Baseball Mike Trapasso, and Women's Softball Deirdre (Dee) Wisneski. In addition to business leaders, a special outreach is being made to sports fans and coaches in every facet of athletics at all levels on Kauai to attend. Those who are planning to be there are encouraged to wear the colors of the Rainbow Warriors and will also be able to purchase UH athletic products at the merchandise table. This is a very unique opportunity to meet these special individuals, and especially rare to have so many heavy hitters of the UH Athletic Department at a single event! We highly encourage you to attend and you can still purchase tickets while they last by going on line to Kauaichamber.org. For more info, please call 245-7363.
On Thursday, June 22, forty attendees participated in HYPE's sold-out educational event, "Dine Like a Boss," at Beachhouse at the Moana restaurant! Stuart Kotake, Associate Director of Catering & Event Management at The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, shared insightful advice and stories on making a lasting impression in a dining setting. Following the educational session was a three-course plated dinner where members could practice the tips they were given while networking amongst each other.
Read what some of our attendees had to say:
"Stuart presented eye opening facts in a very entertaining and informative manner."
"Very useful [lesson] to apply at work, even for personal as well."
"Stuart knew how to relate to the group and individuals. He clearly is knowledge and hospitable to his clients."
"Great people to network with, as usual.Very well done! Applause meter is on high!"
As always, there is something new happening every day with HLTA. Earlier this weekend, the HLTA Oahu Chapter held a Back to School Supplies Drive at Kahala Mall. They collected four large boxes of supplies and $500 in cash to donate to Ali'iolani Elementary and Ala Wai Elementary schools. Mahalo to all the volunteers who collected supplies and members who donated!
Today (6/20), the Hawaii State Association of Counties (HSAC) annual conference is taking place on Kauai at Kōloa Landing Resort at Po‘ipū. HLTA is a sponsor of the HSAC confab and a partner of today’s panel discussion entitled “Agriculture – Past, Present, and Future,” which delves into the topic of Agritourism– or the nexus between agriculture and tourism. The panelists are Dean Okimoto, President of Nalo Farms and Chair of HLTA’s Agriculture committee, Denise Yamaguchi, Executive Director at Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, and Alan Wong, renowned chef and restaurateur, all of whom are HLTA members. We are steadily unveiling an increasing number of these strong and viable Ag/Tourism partnerships throughout the state.
This Wednesday (6/21), there will be a sustainable tourism summit held as part of the VERGE Hawaii – Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It will be a half-day, invitation-only working session focusing on the future of sustainable tourism in Hawaii and beyond. The session is designed to be interactive with facilitated discussions on topics such as technology & innovation, education & awareness, policies, partnerships, best practices and successful business models. HLTA’s Vice President Dean Nakasone will be on an opening panel with Ernest Nishizaki, Principal, Acumen Advisor, LLC and Jim Alberts, Senior VP, Customer Service, HECO. Then later in the afternoon, Dean will lead a Sector Deep Dive session where participants will work collaboratively to identify the primary challenges that will achieve greater sustainability within their specific areas of interest, doing business. To attend this summit, you must be registered for VERGE Hawaii. We invite you to register using discount code VH17HLTA to receive $100 off any pass type by clicking here.
And finally we have some events and activities geared towards HLTA’s young professionals. First of all on Wednesday night (6/21) at Sky Waikiki from 6-8 pm, a premier leadership development program that I am involved with called the Pacific Century Fellows is having a recruitment mixer to recruit applicants for its 16th class of cohorts. Go to the website at PacificCenturyFellows.com for more info and if you wish to attend the mixer contact Alex Roth at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, on Thursday (6/22), HLTA's committee HYPE is holding an etiquette class and 3-course dinner entitled “Dine Like a Boss” at the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa’s Beachhouse Restaurant from 5–8 pm. This will surely be a great educational experience where members will learn the “do’s and don’ts” of eating, greeting, and seating during a dining function. HYPE Kauai has also launched its own chapter recently and its members are gearing up for a networking event at Bamboo Sushi & Grill this evening, as well as a Golf Clinic next Thursday, June 29 at the scenic Hokuala Golf Course. For more information about HYPE Kauai, contact Samira Mansouri at Samira.Mansouri@ehi.com.
Earlier this year, I announced that we would be introducing two new $2500 scholarships for our members in honor of our 70th anniversary as an association. Candidates for this scholarship comprise of sons and daughters of an HLTA member employee who are graduating from high school, admitted to a university, college, or vocational institution, and holds a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher. I am proud to announce that the inaugural HLTA Member Scholarships have been presented to Cameron Foy of ‘Iolani School and Sydney Brady of Kauai High School.
Cameron received the HLTA Allied Member Scholarship. She is the daughter of John and Terry Foy. John Foy is an Area Sales Manager at Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Cameron is an avid volunteer in her community and her school, who feeds the homeless with the Holy Trinity Church, presents guided tours for newly admitted ‘Iolani students, and serves the community through her school’s Interact Club, in addition to keeping up with her rigorous coursework. Cameron currently works as a tennis coach for the 'Iolani summer school tennis program. She will be attending the University of San Diego and intends to major in business.
Sydney received the HLTA Active (lodging) Member Scholarship. She is the daughter of Chuck and Cheryl Brady, who both work at the Kauai Marriott Resort as Director of Human Resources and Director of Revenue Strategy, respectively. In her senior year, Sydney was president of her school’s Health Occupation Students of America Club, National Honors Society, and Student Government Association. After spending a summer job-shadowing at Wilcox Hospital, she now aspires to become a general surgeon. Sydney is a valedictorian of Kauai High School’s class of 2017 and will be attending the University of Notre Dame.
This year HLTA awarded over $60,000 in scholarships, including the Citizen-Scholar Awards, the HLTA Ho‘okipa Scholarship, the Clem Judd Memorial Scholarship, Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Pouhana Hokele Scholarship, among others. For a detailed list of scholarships, visit hawaiilodging.org/scholarship-opportunities.
Left photo: John Foy (Enterprise Rent-a-Car), Cameron Foy, Mufi Hannemann
Right photo: Cheryl Brady (Kauai Marriott Resort), Sydney Brady, Mufi Hannemann, Chuck Brady (Kauai Marriott Resort)
For the first time, HLTA held a mahalo party for organizers of the Oahu Charity Walk. The event took place on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at SKY Waikiki with many of our Charity Walk checkpoint chairs, organizers, and volunteers in attendance. This year, Oahu's Charity Walk raised over $480,000, contributing to the statewide fundraising record of over $2.24 million (and counting). Mahalo to The Orchid Lei Company for sponsoring lei for all the attendees, and a special shoutout to everyone who helped make the 39th Annual Charity Walk a success!
The HLTA Oahu Chapter, under the leadership of its chair Bonnie Kiyabu, is once again staging the Back To School Supplies Drive after a very successful first year. They will be collecting new supplies such as composition tablets, crayons, glue, and more on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at Kahala Mall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will donate the supplies to Ali'iolani Elementary and Ala Wai Elementary schools. Last year HLTA was able to donate over $500 and 500 pounds of school supplies to Palolo Elementary, Aliiolani Elementary, and Ala Wai Elementary Schools. Join us again for a fun and heartwarming day of service and please get your family and friends to participate.
On the federal level, President Donald Trump in announcing his fiscal 2018 federal budget proposal stated he intends to eliminate funding for Brand USA, the travel destination marketing organization for the United States. HLTA has joined the many voices in the visitor industry in strongly opposing the removal of support to Brand USA.
I have been a stout and long-time supporter of public-private partnerships. When I was Mayor I was chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Tourism and Arts Committee when we first prioritized the creation of Brand USA and lobbied Congress extensively for passage of the measure. In 2010, Congress voted to establish this vital public-private partnership for the nation’s travel industry, an entity tasked with coordinating a global marketing platform to promote the United States. With strong bipartisan and industry support, Brand USA has performed remarkably well since its inception. By implementing a state-of-the-art marketing platform, Brand USA has attracted millions of new tourists to the United States and has helped inject billions of dollars into the economy of Hawai‘i and our nation.
One of Hawai‘i’s own, renowned chef and restaurateur extraordinaire and HLTA member Roy Yamaguchi was nominated by the late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye to be a founding board member of Brand USA. Since then, Brand USA has driven more than 4.3 million international visitors to the U.S., supported an average of 51,000 incremental U.S. jobs annually, and averaged returns of nearly $28 per dollar spent on marketing. In reaction to the organization’s success, Congress had reauthorized the program in 2014 and extended operations to 2020. With such formidable support from both Congress and the tourism industry nationally, we were extremely disappointed when the President’s budget proposed to completely eliminate Brand USA.
As a state where travel and tourism is our number-one economic driver, we appreciate the importance of an effective marketing strategy. It is essential to maintaining our share of the existing customer base and to stay competitive in an international destination marketplace. Travel and tourism, on a national scale, generates approximately $2.3 trillion in economic output and employs one in nine Americans, establishing itself as a critical sector in the nation’s economy. Having a successful marketing entity to promote the United States’ image as a prime destination for people around the world to visit America is essential. For years, international marketing efforts by the United States were devoid of any federal government support, which often put us at a disadvantage when competing against other nations, which poured millions of dollars into their travel marketing efforts. We are hopeful that together with Hawai'i's Congressional delegation we will be successful in keeping this major federal tourism program alive.
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