With our Citizen-Scholar, Charity Walk, and Trade Expo events all taking place back to back over the past several months, we have taken a short hiatus from our Hospitality Industry Pau Hana (HIP) events at SKY Waikiki. Rest assured, the HIP events are still going strong, and we have one coming up next Wednesday, August 2 from 5-7pm. This month we are partnering with Securitas Security Services and honoring our Kahiau award recipient John Shaw, Securitas Assistant District Contract Security Manager at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. In addition to being an exceptional employee and exuding the Aloha Spirit at the airport, John also is a retired HPD sergeant and an avid volunteer in the community.
Sanj Sappal, Area Vice President of Securitas does a great job leading his team and continuously engaging with HLTA. Securitas was a recipient of HLTA's Allied Member of the Year award in 2013, and they frequently support events such as HLTA's General Membership Meeting and Scholarship Golf Tournament. We look forward to partnering with Securitas and honoring John Shaw’s selfless generosity next week. To join us at the HIP event, click here.
As many of you know, last October HLTA presented a $25,000 grant to Kauai Economic Opportunity, Inc. (KEO) at HLTA’s 189th General Membership Meeting held at the Sheraton Kauai Resort. The funds, which come from HLTA’s 501(c)3 nonprofit arm Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation, were intended to provide assistance to eligible clientele who are ready to relocate to a safe shelter and pursue sustainable employment, as well as to repatriate some of the homeless back to their loved ones on the mainland.
Since then, KEO, under the direction of CEO MaBel Ferreiro-Fujiuchi, has successfully provided transportation costs for four homeless individuals to return to their home states, where they will live and pursue employment to gain self-sufficiency. The caveat of this funding is that candidates must have a support system in place back home, and be able to provide half the cost of the flight.
The first of the four individuals to return was a 40-year-old man from Alaska. While his situation in Hawaii could barely afford him food and clothes, he did have a family member across the ocean who was willing to give him a place to live. KEO and HLTA’s funding helped him get there. After he arrived in Alaska, the KEO staff contacted the individual’s mother, who assured them that he was in her care.
Soon after this case, KEO helped three more individuals return to their home states of Nevada, New Mexico, and Montana. KEO is currently working on two more repatriation cases.
These success stories prove a testament to what the visitor industry’s contributions have been able to accomplish. KEO has done a fabulous job utilizing our contribution as a true catalyst for change on the Garden Isle. I know there will be many more stories like this to come in the near future, both from KEO and from the many other agencies our industry supports.
This recent contribution to KEO was done in consultation with Mayor Bernard Carvalho. In 2015, HLTA in collaboration with Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and the Institute for Human Services (IHS) donated $25,000 to a group called the Maui Family Life Center to support its airline relocation program and help reconnect homeless transplant individuals with their families on the mainland. Similarly, in discussion with Hawaii Island Mayor Harry Kim’s office, HLTA intends to give another $25,000 to agencies on the Big Island this Fall.
30 attendees joined HYPE Kauai on a sunset sail and networking event on July 23, 2017 along the island's south shore. They had a great time enjoying pupus, making new connections, and taking in Kauai's breathtaking views.
Last week HLTA unveiled a new partnership with three aio Media owned magazines -- HONOLULU, Hawaii Business and HAWAII -- to launch an awards program that honors some of the top achievers in the tourism industry.
The candidates for this new awards program, called the aio Media Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Awards, will be based on public nominations in 16 categories including accommodations, restaurants, events, music, sports, culture and heritage, education and agritourism. A blue-ribbon selection committee will review the nominations and vote on the finalists in each category. The winners will be announced at an awards banquet to be held in mid-November.
Nominations are open to the public and can be made online at www.hawaiimagazine.com/hlta through August 31. We encourage you to nominate your favorite hotel properties, restaurants, events, and activities that you feel are deserving of this recognition. Self-nominations are accepted so don’t be shy to submit your own organization!
As our members know, HLTA gives due recognition to our industry through the Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Awards, which takes place in January each year and honors the hard-working employees on the frontlines of our state’s lodging properties. The aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards is yet another way for us to recognize and say mahalo to the individuals and organizations that work tirelessly for our state’s number-one industry. The awards gala in November will be the perfect way to celebrate that longstanding commitment in harmony with HLTA’s 70th anniversary. We will be announcing the date and venue in the coming weeks and we hope you will be able to join us for this commemorative occasion.
Speaking of anniversaries, The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club just celebrated their first anniversary with a 1st Birthday Lu‘au in partnership with the Wahea Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving and protecting the fundamental aspects of Hawaiian culture. The birthday bash led by GM Lynette Eastman featured hula performances, Hawaiian music, lei-making, Hawaiian food by Mahina and Sun’s, and cultural demonstrations throughout the day.
Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, which was started by the iconic Roy and Estelle Kelly 50 years ago, is also celebrating this year. To kick off their golden anniversary, the resort will celebrate with a special edition of Duke’s on Sunday – July 23 from 4-6 p.m. at Duke’s Waikiki restaurant. Henry Kapono will be playing and bringing along renowned guest performers. On the following night, a VIP “Golden Anniversary” event will take place at Blue Note Hawaii, with special performances from award-winning artists Makana and Henry Kapono. Outrigger will also honor Waikiki Community Center and Queen Emma Land Co. at the event. Congratulations to both The Surfjack and Outrigger Waikiki Beach for their exciting milestones!
Mahalo to all our members and partners who participated in the 2017 Hawaii Lodging, Hospitality, & Foodservice expo this past Wednesday and Thursday! It was fantastic to see the many familiar faces supporting our state's number-one industry! A big mahalo to members Soderholm Sales & Leasing (pictured bottom left) and Tropical J's (pictured bottom right) for their sponsorship towards HLTA's lounge exhibit and educational events. Scroll down for highlights.
Recipients of HLTA Pouhana Hokele Scholarship recognized at board of directors meeting
The scholarship recipients of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association Pouhana Hokele Scholarship were recognized during HLTA's full board of directors meeting on Wednesday. The $1000 scholarships, which underwent a name change this year, went to Bree Blake of Kapi‘olani Community College (KCC) and Trent Sakuma, who also attends KCC. The HLTA Pouhana Hokele scholarship recipients were selected by the Pauahi Foundation for their native Hawaiian ancestry and aspirations to .pursue a career in the visitor industry with an emphasis on hotel management.
Microfridge mini-fridge and microwave donated to Waikiki Community Center
A generous donation by Microfridge was presented to Waikiki Community Center in partnership with HLTA. Microfridge turned to HLTA for a recommendation on a nonprofit agency to award with a brand new mini-fridge and microwave. Waikiki Community Center has been a longtime supporter of HLTA's Charity Walk, and recently started a new education program.
Women in Lodging & Tourism bring awareness to issue of human trafficking
HLTA's Women in Lodging & Tourism committee held an educational session entitled "Human Trafficking: Recognizing the Signs & Taking Action," featuring moderator Jerry Dolak, director of security and safety at Outrigger Resorts and panelists Jessica Munoz, founder and president of nonprofit Ho‘ola Na Pua; Kevin Takata, administrator of the criminal justice division of the state Department of the Attorney General; and Renata Del Moral, victim assistant specialist from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Engineers Advisory Council sheds light on king tides and sea level rise
HLTA's Engineers Advisory Council meeting was held in conjunction with a symposium on king tides and sea level rise, featuring moderator Dean Nakasone, vice president of HLTA, and panelists Dolan Eversole, Coastal Processes Specialist of the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program; Bert Takahashi, Chief Engineer of the Sheraton Waikiki Resort; and Sam Lemmo, Administrator of the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands.
I hope everyone had a fantastic time yesterday at the Hawaii Lodging, Hospitality, & Foodservice Expo. It was great to see many of our members at the Neal Blaisdell Center, either hosting a booth or walking the floor. HLTA’s Women in Lodging & Tourism committee held an excellent educational workshop in conjunction with the expo on the growing issue of human trafficking. Mahalo to Jerry Dolak of Outrigger Enterprises Group, Jessica Munoz of Ho’ola Na Pua, Renata Del Morale of the Department of Homeland Security, and Kevin Takata of the Department of the Attorney General’s Criminal Justice Division, who shared informative tips on how to spot a potential victim or trafficker, and how to approach a suspicious situation. While many recognize that this problem exists, the fight against human trafficking is delicate and complex as it is often an “invisible” issue that happens right in our back yard. As I mentioned at today’s event, this matter is not one that is relevant just to women, but to everyone. As I say time and time again, we’re all in this together.
This morning we held an educational symposium on King Tides and sea level rise with the Engineers Advisory Council before the trade show, which proffered an eye-opening reminder of the imminent effects that climate change and sea level rise have on our state, nation, and world. Mahalo to Dolan Eversole of the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program, Bert Takahashi of the Sheraton Waikiki Resort, and Sam Lemmo of DLNR’s Office of Conservation and Coastal lands, who shared detailed projections on what the tides and sea level rise will prompt our islands to look like in the coming years, and information on what hotels are doing now to temporarily deal with the constant flooding and shoreline erosion. HLTA is aware of these implications and are being proactive in working to address this issue, as it strongly affects our quality of life, environment, and public safety- all critical components of our industry. In addition to today’s educational event, the Engineers Advisory Council has also been very active in community service. Most recently, they held the first phase of their service project at Kaiser High School this past Saturday, July 4, where they are demolishing and rebuilding the school’s theater stage. About 15 volunteers helped demolish the stage on Saturday, and will be rebuilding it later this month. Mahalo to the Engineers Advisory Council for their contributions to our communities, and to Dennis Maher for his leadership with the Council.
We hope to see you again at the expo today (Wednesday). Mahalo to Douglas Trade Shows, Soderholm Sales and Leasing, and Tropical J’s for being generous sponsors of our excellent lounge exhibit in the central concourse between the exhibition hall and arena. Come visit our staff and members, and learn about a new awards gala to be held in November in partnership with HLTA and aio Media, the parent company of HONOLULU Magazine, Hawaii Business Magazine, and HAWAI‘I Magazine. Nominations are now open to recognize the best of the best across a variety of categories spanning hotels and accommodations, restaurants, events, leaders in the industry, and agritourism. Submit your nomination at hawaiimagazine.com/hlta.
HLTA is also offering an incentive for new members to join our association. New members who join between now and July 31 will be entered to win an 808 Travel certificate of round-trip flights for two to a neighbor island on Hawaiian Airlines, coupled with a two-night stay at The Westin Princeville on Kauai. Remember, we still have our member referral incentive going until October 15, so this is a great time to recruit new members. As a reminder, every time you refer 5 new members you will be entered to win a round-trip flight to any Alaska Airlines destination with a three-night stay at a Marriott property. The person who recruits the most members will win a round trip to any Island Air destination with a two-night stay at an Aqua-Aston property.
The Kauai Chamber of Commerce held their 2nd Quarter Membership Meeting on June 29 at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, sponsored by the Family and Friends of Agriculture, in partnership with HLTA and our Kauai Chapter. As I mentioned in the last Mufi’s message, this is the second time that we have engaged with the Kauai Chamber in supporting one of their meetings, the first being in 2015. That year we partnered with Kaiser Permanente for the Kauai Chamber’s annual membership meeting at the Kauai Marriott Resort.
HLTA enthusiastically supports the University of Hawai‘i’s student-athletes and the tremendous pride and honor they consistently bring to our state and people, not only in competition but as exceptional representatives of our islands. We made a $10,000 contribution at the event, with the support of Family and Friends of Agriculture to the UH athletic department for their seven sports programs. Athletic Director David Matlin, Assistant Athletic Director Lois Manin, and Associate Athletic Director of External Affairs Joel Matsunaga attended the event, as well as coaches from all seven of UH’s sports programs: 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, an assistant coach from Kauai.
This was the largest gathering of UH coaches in any one place at any one time! People were treated to opportunities to sit, mix, and mingle with the coaches, and were given 25% discounts for UH merchandise. All proceeds benefited the UH Athletics program. Joining myself as we made the $10,000 commitment were former athletes of UH, including Mayor Bernard Carvalho, who played football, and Council Vice-Chair Ross Kagawa, who played baseball. Also joining me to make the presentation to Athletic Director David Matlin were HLTA Kauai Chapter Chair Jim Braman, incoming Kauai Chapter Chair Ike Cockett, as well as Stephanie Iona of Dow AgroSciences and Laurie Yoshida of DuPont Pioneer, who are both members of HLTA’s Agriculture Committee. Kudos to Stephanie and Laurie for working very hard in helping to execute a very successful event!
After reconciling the donations from each island, we are excited to announce that the 39th annual Charity Walk raised a total of $2.26 million! We reflected the new total in a mahalo ad in The Garden Island newspaper and West Hawaii Today, both affiliates of Oahu Publications Inc. Both were published this past Sunday, July 2. We also released a mahalo ad in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser several weeks ago when our total was hovering right above $2.24 million. Mahalo to everyone for contributing until the very end of our 2017 campaign! Now the question is, how can we top our record at next year’s 40th anniversary event? 2018 Charity Walk Chair Glenn Vergara and the committee I know will be up to the task!
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