Government Affairs Talk Story
The New Year is in full swing and we are off and running. Over the past week, HLTA put on three events that I'd like to share with you.
On Tuesday, we held a Government Affairs talk story event at the Prince Waikiki where industry stakeholders took advantage of the opportunity to meet with State legislators and learn more about their priorities for this year's Legislative Session. A variety of issues were raised and discussed, such as TVRs , the much needed repairs at the airport, homelessness, transient accommodations tax, crime and state/county duplication of services.
Mahalo to the following legislators who participated in our talk story event:
Senate President Ron Kouchi
Senator Kurt Fevella
House Tourism Chair Richard H. K Onishi
Rpresenative John H. Mizuno
Representative Scot Z. Matayoshi
Representative Val Okimoto
A final mahalo to the Prince Waikiki for hosting us!
Charity Walk Kick-Off
On Thursday, HLTA held its annual Charity Walk Kick Off Breakfast at the 'Alohilani Resort. The event was highlighted by a $5,000 donation from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation for this year's Visitor Industry Charity Walk. New ideas and initiatives were introduced to bolster fundraising and participation efforts for 2020!
This Saturday, The Polynesian Bowl, a high school all-star game, will be held at Aloha Stadium for the fourth year and will feature the next generation of Polynesian football stars. This morning, we held an event at James Campbell High School that featured Polynesian stars of the past like four-time Super Bowl champion Jesse Sapolu and two-time Pro Bowl selection Vai Sikahema along with college standouts AJ Epenesa and Ewa Beach native Tua Tagovailoa and Polynesian Football Hall of Fame inductee David Dixon.
The students were treated to speeches from each of the athletes and had a great time with more than a few "Roll Tide" calls coming from the audience. Special shoutout to JCHS Principal Jon Henry Lee and Vice Principal Shayne Greenland for making today a reality. A similar event was also held at Kaimuki High School, thanks to the support of Principal Jamie Dela Cruz and Bulldog Football Coach David Tautofi. That assembly featured former Denver Broncos star Ma’a Tanuvasa, PFHOF inductees Haloti Ngata and Dominic Raiola, and Outland Trophy Winner Penei Sewell.
Yesterday, the House and Senate presented a joint legislative proclamation to PFHOF board members Jesse Sapolu, Ma’a Tanuvasa, and Vai Sikahema. Accompanying them to the State Capitol were HTA’s Chris Tatum and yours truly representing HLTA.
30th Annual Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards
Yesterday, HLTA held its 30th Annual Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards luncheon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village's Coral Ballroom. HLTA Chair Mike Jokovich and I had a wonderful afternoon meeting all of our nominees, finalists, and our awardees. As always, the stories that arise during Na Po'e are heart warming and at times incredible! As we close the books on this event each year, I get to reflect on not only the rich diversity of our industry's workforce, but also the quality of the people who comprise it. They are all, truly, no ka oi.
2020 Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year
Kirk Togashi – Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa
2020 Manager of the Year
Claire Butler - Hilton Hawaiian Village
Bell & Valet: Large Property
Dayle Ho'opai - Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
Bell & Valet: Medium Property
Peter Nonales - OHANA Waikiki Malia By Outrigger
Bell & Valet: Small Property
Ted Tuttle - Wyndham Vacation Resorts Royal Garden at Waikiki
Engineer & Maintenance: Large Property
Mundy Gillcoat - The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas
Engineer & Maintenance: Medium Property
Lee Ridley - Marriott's Waiohai Beach Club
Engineer & Maintenance: Small Property
Kyle "Kalani" Tihada - Napili Kai Beach Resort
Food & Beverage: Large Property
Imelda "Amie" Tungpalan - Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel
Food & Beverage: Medium Property
Gemsley Balagso - The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas Resort
Front Office: Large Property
Giadee Kaiwi - The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
Front Office: Medium Property
Manuel Nicolas - OHANA Waikiki Malia by Outrigger
Front Office: Small Property
Charles Ursua - Wyndham at Waikiki Beach Walk
Housekeeper: Large Property
Flordeliza Leo - Hilton Hawaiian Village
Housekeeper: Medium Property
Erlinda Aranca - The Kahala Hotel & Resort
Housekeeper: Small Property
Laurie Manatay - Aston Islander on the Beach
Security Officer: Large Property
Eric Capllonch - Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
Security Officer: Medium Property
Andrew Materne - The Ritz Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach
Security Officer: Small Property
Joseph Pascua - Lawai Beach Resort
Allied Member of the Year
Individual Allied Member of the Year
Lester Kodama - Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Chef/Restaurateur of the Year
Tylun Pang - The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui
Hospitality Educator of the Year
Vice Principal Kenneth Acgaoili - Kaimuki High School
Leader in Sustainability
Prince Resorts Hawaii
Women in Lodging & Tourism: Woman of the Year
Hao Dang Tanacsos - HAOSkeeping, Inc.
Excellence in Community Service
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
Debbie Nakanelua-Richards - Hawaiian Airlines
2020 Na Po'e Pa'ahana Legacy Award
The Polynesian Cultural Center
A big mahalo to our co--hosts Tannya Joaquin, left, and Brigette Namata, both of whom hail from KHON and did a wonderful job as emcees of the event.
On January 14, HLTA will be hosting its first government affairs event of the year, a talk story session with state legislators. We will be meeting with legislators from both chambers, including Senate President Ron Kouchi, Senate Tourism Chair Glenn Wakai, Senate Transportation Chair Lorraine Inouye, and Senator Kurt Fevella. From the House of Representatives, we will be joined by Vice Speaker Mark Nakashima, Tourism Chair Richard Onishi, Representative Scot Matayoshi, Representative John Mizuno and Representative Val Okimoto .
While we have enjoyed several key legislative victories in recent memory (TVRs, CONAM, Real Property Tax Rate carve outs or bed & breakfast properties), we must not become complacent. There are a number of key issues that are looking over the entire tourism industry and we must do our best to make our case to our legislators. This meeting will be a key first step in connecting with them this year and learning more about their priorities for the upcoming legislative session.
Tihati Productions 50th Anniversary Gala
On Saturday evening, Tihati Productions held its 50th Anniversary Gala at the Sheraton Waikiki. It was a most amazing night of outstanding entertainment, 'ono food, and great fellowship. A bevy of stars performed including, Sol3 Mio, Robert Cazimero, Amy Hanaiali'i, Willie K, Josh Tatofi, and past and present Tihati performers.
In recognition of their golden anniversary, the production company designated all proceeds raised by the event to be donated to three charitable organizations including South Seas Christian Ministries, the Eli Thompson Scholarship Fund at Saint Louis School, and the Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation, HLTA's charitable arm. On behalf of HLTA and HHIF, mahalo to Jack and Cha Thompson, and the entire Tihati Productions 'ohana. Congratulations on reaching this milestone and best wishes for another 50 wonderful years.
Spreading Holiday Cheer
At the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Kukui Center Christmas Luncheon, HLTA distributed $800 in assorted gift cards to the nonprofits that are housed in the Chinatown-area center. These were donated by HLTA members and their guests at HLTA's Holidays In Paradise party. Pictured above are Kukui Center Executive Director Judy Lind, left, and Family Promise Program Director Josh Gaoteote.
Mufi is pictured above with HLTA Board Members Sanj Sappal, left, and Carol Shimomura at Pacific Guardian Life's annual Christmas Part which was held at Wai'alae Country Club.
The HLTA Hospitality Housekeeping Council held its annual Christmas luncheon last week Thursday at the Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant. Congratulations to HHC Chair Hao Dang, far right, for another successful year. A special mahalo to United Laundry President & CEO Vicky Cayetano, far left, for sponsoring the event.
HLTA Holidays In Paradise
Please join us for our Holidays In Paradise (HIP) Christmas Party on Thursday, December 5th. We have a fun evening planned as Grammy-nominated Josh Tatofi will be performing. You can see a video of Josh performing Henehene Kou Aka in the video below.
Holidays In Paradise will be held at Duke's Waikiki in the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort on their Lower Patio. The restaurant will offer validated parking for up to three (3) hours at the Ohana East. With validation, parking will cost $6 for three hours.
Please bring a gift card with a minimum denomination of $20 for entry in our lucky draw. Gift cards will be donated to a local nonprofit to benefit those in need during this holiday season.
Bill 55 (2019), CD2
On November 13, The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee reported out Bill 55 (2019), CD2 for passage on third reading. This bill, which relates to Real Property Taxation, carves out a specific tax class for Bed and Breakfast Home properties. This is a significant step in the right direction by the City.
As you know, HLTA has long supported the regulation of illegal transient vacation rental (TVR) units, and we advocated tirelessly for legislation to this effect. From the very get-go, we also pushed for short-term rental units to pay real property tax rates that were entirely separate from those paid by purely residential properties. Bill 55 (2019), CD2 addresses this missing link of real property tax parity and will also help the City to collect much needed revenue from legal short-term rental units.
Maui County and Kaua'i County have already enacted similar legislation that establishes separate tax classes for short-term rental units, and I am pleased to see the City & County of Honolulu following suit. Hopefully, the passage of Bill 55 (2019), CD2 will also lead Hawai'i County to consider making the same amendments to their real property tax classes.
While the agenda for the City Council’s December meeting has not yet been posted, I do expect to see this item put to a vote at the Council’s December 4 meeting.
Hawai'i Tourism Wholesalers Association
Last week, at the request of Trade West, Inc. President Thomas Matthews, I sat down with members of the Hawai'i Tourism Wholesalers for a talk story session. Mr. Matthews told me that he had reached out to me after reading about HLTA's current initiatives in the spadea that we ran in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser during our 192nd General Membership Meeting.
The evening was filled with lively conversation as we talked about tourism management, legislative priorities that affect Hawai'i's visitor and business industries, public transportation, and the future of our state's tourism industry. We ended with a short Q&A session and had a positive and productive conversation.
Hawaiian Airlines 90th Anniversary
Congratulations to longtime HLTA member Hawaiian Airlines which celebrated its 90th anniversary last week. In recognition of this milestone, the local airline replicated their historic 1929 flight by flying from Honolulu to Hilo with a short stop on Maui. The flight attendants who staffed the flight donned vintage uniforms from the 1960’s through the 1990’s.
Hawaiian Airlines also held the Great Hawaiian Plane Pull during which 68 teams of 12 worked together to pull a Boeing 717. The event raised $33,000 for the airline’s environmental nonprofit partner, Sustainable Coastlines Hawai'i.
Mahalo, Hawaiian Airlines, and best wishes for 90 more successful years.
Na Po'e Pa'ahana
Please join us at HTLA's 30th Annual Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards Luncheon where we will honor our industry's most outstanding front-line employees. This year's luncheon will be held on Thursday, January 9, 2020 from 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.
To reserve your seats or to purchase tables, please click here.
We look forward to seeing you.
Campaign for a Safer Community
Mufi is pictured speaking at the close of the Campaign for a Safer Community symposium at the Royal Hawaiian. This free event is also being held on Maui, Hawai'i Island, and Kaua'i over the next few days. For more information, you can visit https://hoolanapua.org/event/safer/.
Yesterday, Ho‘ōla Nā Pua, in partnership with HLTA and Hawai'i Tourism Authority, hosted a free symposium called “Campaign for a Safer Community: Taking a Stand Against Trafficking” to better equip local tourism industry professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to recognize and report suspected instances of human trafficking. It included three sessions that covered topics including how to recognize trafficking and exploitation, how to efficiently report suspected human trafficking, and how our tourism industry can be a key partner in making our communities safer places to live. HTA’s funding is also making it possible for the symposium to be held on Maui, Hawaii Island and Kauai in the next few days.
As I said in my closing remarks at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, sex trafficking is a problem that affects entire communities, not just our industry. That being said, our hoteliers are on the front lines and, it is important that we be proactive about addressing this crime. It is illegal. It is indecent. And, it is immoral.
If you suspect that someone is being victimized by human traffickers, in addition to notifying local enforcement authorities, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888.
HTA and the Hawai'i Visitors Convention Bureau (HVCB) recently launched their Kuleana Campaign, a video campaign that shares the unwritten rules and etiquettes of Hawai'i with those visiting our state. The videos were filmed on O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua'i, and Hawai'i Island and cover topics that range from ocean and hiking safety, to cultural awareness.
In addition to posting the entire set of videos online, the Kuleana Campaign has partnered with Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, all of whom are airing these videos during flights that are en route to Hawai'i.
To see the entire playlist, please click here.
Na Po'e Pa'ahana - DEADLINE EXTENDED
It is the final week to submit entries for the 30th Annual Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards. The cutoff date has been pushed to midnight of November 8. Don't miss this opportunity to recognize and honor the front-line employees who truly are the heart and soul of our Hawai'i's tourism industry.
To submit an entry, please click here.
Congratulations to the new Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani and their General Manager Julie Arigo! Julie is a former HLTA Chairperson and the current Chair of our Women In Lodging Committee.
Residence Inn Kapolei
Congratulations also to the new Residence Inn by Marriott which opened in Kapolei last week. Pictured from left are HLTA Senior Director of Government and Community Affairs Jared Higashi, General Manager Brian Hunnings, Mufi, and Director of Sales Kelly Kitashima.
Keiki in the Kitchen
Earlier this year, the Hawai'i Agriculture Foundation (HAF) launched its Young Entrepreneurs program for local students in culinary and agricultural pathways. Middle and high school students from around the state worked with their teachers to formulate business plans around a product that they had created. Yesterday, these students had the chance to sell their creations at the Made in Hawai'i Marketplace for Kids by Kids which was held as part of Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival's Keiki in the Kitchen at Victoria Ward Park.
As we have with other events, HLTA and the Hawai'i Tourism Authority have made it a goal to show support for tourism-related activities that help our youth. I represented HTA at an HAF teacher training session earlier to speak in support of the culinary business and agri-tourism and expressed our support to include neighbor island participation in these kinds of opportunities on O'ahu. In keeping with this, HTA sponsored the travel expenses for neighbor island students and teachers from Maui and Hawaii Island to participate in yesterday's event. HTA President & CEO Chris Tatum and I joined Hawai'i Agricultural Foundation Executive Director Denise Yamaguchi yesterday to tour the free, outdoor event in Kaka’ako and met with the students and educators who were part of yesterday’s festivities.
We were incredibly impressed not only by the ono food items, but also the attention to detail and creativity of the marketing and packaging of each school's product and by the variety of items that they brought to the marketplace. Our hats off to all of the students and their teachers for a job well done and we look forward to next year’s event.
The following schools were in attendance: Olomana School; Pearl City High School; Roosevelt High School; Konawaena High School; Leilehua High School; Baldwin High School; Aiea High School; Kaiser High School; Waipahu High School; Farrington High School; 'Ilima Intermediate School; and Waipahu Intermediate School.
Na Po'e Pa'ahana - DEADLINE EXTENDED
The nomination period for our 30th Annual Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards is now open! We will be extending the cutoff date until midnight of November 8. Please take a moment to submit an entry for your best hotel & lodging employees so that their hard work and aloha spirit may be recognized.
To submit an entry, please click here.
Momilani Elementary School
On Friday evening, Mufi visited Momilani Elementary School to present a check from Charity Walk to the school's PTSO, Hui o Momilani, at their Halloween Costume Ball. Momilani has been one of the most active participants through the years - they raise money and bring enthusiastic volunteers and walkers every year!
Traveler's Choice Awards
The annual Traveler's Choice Awards for Restaurants were recently announced. These awards are given out based upon one year of TripAdvisor reviews. This year, several Hawai'i restaurants received awards. In the Fine Dining category, Lahaina Grill ranked 4th, Mama's Fish House (Maui) took 8th, and Merriman's in Waimea was the 9th pick.
In the Fast Casual Eateries category, Teddy's Bigger Burgers was the 8th ranked restaurant.
But I’d like to reserve a special shoutout to TS Restaurants whose Duke's Waikiki restaurant ranked 7th in the nation for the Everyday Dining category. TS Restaurants' energetic CEO Jackie Reed was just installed as one of our newest board members at our GMM at the Hapuna Resort on Hawaii Island recently. Congrats also to TS Restaurants Area General Manager Dylan Ching and Duke's Waikiki General Manager Keli'i Gouveia, both of whom have been very supportive of many HLTA initiatives.
To see the full set of rankings, please click here.
Mufi is pictured above with TS Restaurants' CEO Jackie Reed, left, at HLTA's 192nd General Membership Meeting on Hawai'i Island. Reed was recently installed on HLTA's Board of Directors. Also pictured is Southwest Airlines' Community Affairs & Grassroots Senior Specialist Kelly Knox.
192nd General Membership Meeting
We are back in the HLTA offices having just wrapped up an amazing weekend at the West Hapuna Beach Resort where we held our 192nd General Membership Meeting. It was a pleasure to catch up with so many familiar faces and to get to know some of our newest HLTA members.
We kicked off the weekend on Thursday evening with an event hosted by our Women In Lodging & Tourism Committee. The discussion panel included guest speakers Malani DeAguiar of Kamehameha Schools and Ku'ulei Keakealani-Case from Ka Pilina Poina 'Ole and was deftly moderated by Kawehi Inaba of Kupa'a Business Planners.
The panel, which was entitled Moku O Keawe: A Sense of Place, opened with an oli and covered a wide variety of topics that focused on how a person can begin to belong to a physical place like Hawai'i by embracing and adopting the local cultural practices and protocols. It was an especially fitting topic as our industry works to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture in a sensitive way.
On Friday morning, our Allied Members took the stage at our annual Sponsor Showcase where they exhibited their best products and services.
Friday Lunch & Learn
After lunch and the HLTA Board of Directors Meeting, Lieutenant Governor Josh Green joined us as our first Lunch & Learn Speaker for this year's GMM. The Lieutenant Governor focused his remarks on homelessness, which has been his main focus on behalf of Governor David Ige's administration. He commended HLTA for its active financial support for non-profit groups throughout the state.
Following Lieutenant Governor Green, we hosted a government panel that included State Senator Kai Kahele, State Representative James Tokioka, and Hawai'i County Councilmember Tim Richards III. Mauna Kea Resort General Manager and Vice President of Operations Craig Anderson served as moderator and led a quality discussion on the tourism industry, the government arena, and how these two entities affect each other.
Friday night's reception featured a "Trashion Show" led by Hawai'i County Councilmember Rebecca Villegas, second from right.
After the "Trashion Show," HLTA members were treated to a live performance by 14-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award Winner Mark Yamanaka.
General Membership Meeting
On Saturday morning, we held our General Membership Meeting where we said farewell to HLTA Chairman Glenn Vergara who, for the past year, has been exemplary in this leadership role. He tirelessly worked to grow our association and was passionate about Charity walk. Glenn passed the gavel to our new Board Chair Michael Jokovich. This will be his second time serving in this capacity and, if I remember anything from his last tenure, you can be certain that all HLTA events under his leadership will be meaningful and fun!
I also delivered my annual State of the Industry Address. My remarks this year highlighted our key partnerships, the issues that our industry will face in 2020 like overtourism, illegal vacation rentals, possible increases to the TAT and Real Property Tax rates, the establishment of an Airports Corporation, and homelessness. A key portion of my speech also focused on where HLTA must go from here to meet these challenges successfully.
One of our main areas of focus going forward will be to grow the HLTA membership base. At GMM, I issued a personal request to our membership that each member personally strive to bring two new members into the HLTA fold before our trade show in April. I shared a video showing some of the perks that come with joining our association. You can see that at the link below.
Each of You Reach Two - GMM 2019
I also announced our newest public engagement initiative, the HLTA Education Fund, which will serve one main goal: to EDUCATE our elected officials, stakeholders, and the general public on the positive effect that our industry has on our community as a whole.
Going forward, I emphasized that the leaders of our industry must take a more active role in the political process. As we are approaching a major election year, there is a significant opportunity to elect candidates from our industry who will consistently support our causes. For this reason, we must continue to contribute to our HOTELPAC so that the candidates of our choosing will have the backing needed to win key races.
Senator Kurt Fevella was kind enough to join us to tell his story and share how HLTA helped him to emerge victorious in the last election. Mahalo to Senator Fevella for making the trip to Hawai'i Island and for being such a strong ally for the tourism industry of Hawai'i.
If you would like a copy of my GMM remarks, please e-mail our Director of Communications Jared Ellis at email@example.com.
Saturday Lunch & Learn
Our final Lunch & Learn session of the weekend was a good one.
John De Fries, Executive Director of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, led things off with a powerful speech that touched on topics that ranged from the Kumulipo, to the Hokule'a, to the use of 'olelo Hawai'i to name celestial objects that have been discovered through telescopes in Hawai'i. I heard multiple positive comments about the subject matter from those in attendance.
Hawai'i Tourism Authority President & CEO Chris Tatum was our last speaker for the weekend and his presentation on tourism management, delivered in a markedly talk story style, was the perfect way to come full circle on many of the topics that were touched on throughout the weekend.
My sincerest mahalo to all of those who shared their mana'o at this year's GMM and to all of you who took the opportunity to share your thoughts on what is important for our industry. It is always refreshing to hear different viewpoints on the subjects that we spend so much of our time and energies.
Tailgate By the Sea
On Saturday evening, HLTA members descended upon the Makai Pool and Naupaka Grille to enjoy our first ever Tailgate by the Sea. In addition to an amazing sunset and delicious food, multiple TVs were set up for our members to cheer on the UH Warrior football team as they took on Air Force.
While we were at GMM, readers of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and USA Today around the state found the HLTA story on a special spadea that we've reproduced above. If you'd like to see a high resolution copy of all four pages, please click here.
In closing, my warmest mahalo to everybody who attended and made our 192nd General Membership Meeting a success. Thank you in particular to Craig Anderson and the entire staff at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. Mahalo for hosting us and for making our stay a pleasant and memorable one.
Final Call to Register for GMM
While the normal registration period for HLTA's 192nd General Membership Meeting has closed, you can still register to join us at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort by clicking the button below. We have a full weekend of educational and networking opportunities that you do not want to miss out on. I am most looking forward to seeing you all next week.
Campaign for a Safer Community
Hoʻōla Nā Pua, a local nonprofit organization that combats sex trafficking, is partnering with the Hawai'i Tourism Authority and HLTA to host free, four-hour seminars on O'ahu, Maui, Hawai'i Island, and Kaua'i during the first week of November. The workshops will include industry-specific topics such as "Defining Trafficking & Exploitation," "Tourism Industry as Key Partners in Protecting Our Community," and "Responding, Reporting and Action Steps."
The seminars are scheduled for the following dates and locations:
30th Annual Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards
Each year, the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association hosts the Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards to honor individuals who have contributed to the visitor industry through their professionalism, their engagement with the community, and the way in which they have consistently embodied the Aloha Spirit. These are the employees who continue to make Hawaii a premier destination. Our industry relies on their dedication and commitment to providing stellar service to all those that visit our islands. This year's Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards has been scheduled for January 9 at the HiIton Hawaiian Village.
The nomination period is now open and will run through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 1. In eight of the ten award categories, finalists will be recognized in small, medium, and large-size lodging properties. These categories include:
To nominate one of your outstanding employees for this year's Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards, please click here.
Samaritan Counseling Center - Hawai'i
Last night, I attended a mahalo reception that the Samaritan Counseling Center of Hawaii hosted for their supporters. The organization, which provides counseling at little to no cost to people in need, is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary. In the time since their establishment, the Samaritan Counseling Center has helped more than 8,000 people improve their well-being and have facilitated nearly 74,000 hours of counseling and compassionate care.
Congratulations and mahalo to the Samaritan Counseling Center of Hawaii, their staff, and all of their supporters on 30 outstanding years of service.
LA Clippers in the Community
The Los Angeles Clippers were in Honolulu where they have held their preseason training camp for the past three years. There has been extensive coverage of the team's practice and play over the past week against the Houston Rockets and the Shanghai Sharks but I want to share with you some of the things that the Clippers have been doing off the court with Hawaii Tourism’s assistance.
A while back, the Clippers asked for our help in identifying a local public school that could benefit from a charitable donation from the organization. After hearing the Clippers' criteria, I immediately thought of Central Middle School and suggested them as an ideal fit. Last week Friday, I joined Central Middle School Principal Anne Marie Murphy and LA Clippers President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker as they unveiled a new technology and innovation hub at the Honolulu middle school. The team donated iPads, virtual reality headsets, and 3D printers that will surely help to prepare Central Middle School's students for the hi-tech job market of today.
If this wasn't enough, the Clippers also decided at the very last minute to rehabilitate the Central Middle School basketball courts. When the team arrived at the school to begin outfitting the tech hub, Zucker noticed the nearby court in disrepair. She and her team made sure that the work to patch pieces of the concrete and install new rims, backboards, and nets were done within 48 hours!
Check out this video that was posted on the Clippers' Facebook page.
On Saturday, The Clippers hosted a full day of skills clinics at Klum Gym. Kids ranging from ages 6-14 from around the state all got a chance to hone their skills under the watchful eyes of the Clippers' coaching staff. A special coaches clinic was also conducted. My deepest thanks to the Hawai'i Tourism Authority and their President Chris Tatum for providing us with the funding necessary to invite a large contingent of neighbor island players to O'ahu to reap the benefits of the LA Clippers' skills clinics. HLTA was proud to make arrangements for players from Moloka'i, Lana'i, Maui, Kaua'i, and Hawai'i Island to travel here to take part in this unique opportunity and made sure that all parts of O’ahu were represented at the clinic for the first time.
Charity Walk Check Presentations
I've been grateful to once again visit with some of our outstanding Charity Walk organizations. The two mentioned in my message this week have been strong participants over the past several years and their causes have truly reaped the benefits.
Adult Friends for Youth's mission is to halt violence in an effort to strengthen families and make communities safer. Their model focuses on several core programs which include: Neighborhood Outreach; School-Centered Counseling; Clinical C-Base Alternative Education Program and Student Anti-Bullying and Violence Conventions; and the PEARL (Promoting Peace, Empathy, Acceptance, Respect, and Love). Adult Friends for Youth serves more than 300 youth per week, many of whom have been engaged in destructive behaviors like substance abuse, fighting, and other criminal activities.
Corvette Center Ministries is based in Wai'anae and works closely with the homeless population in that area. This year, they received significant funds that will support their Zion 'Ipuka program which is a housing initiative that provides qualified applicants with a private living space, bedding, and some furniture. The residents, many of whom are elderly, share common areas including bathroom and kitchen facilities on the 2-acre property. Zion 'Ipuka members pay whatever they can afford and also maintain the property.
Mahalo to Adult Friends for Youth and Corvette Center Ministries for all that they do.
West Maui Committee Meeting
Last Tuesday, I was invited to the West Maui Community Plan Advisory Committee Meeting by Committee Chair Kai Nishiki and Maui County Council Chair Kelly King to speak on the topic of economic opportunity through innovation and collaboration via the visitor industry both on Maui and throughout the rest of the state. I deem these opportunities so important that, when having discussions centered around tourism management, visitor industry and local stakeholders MUST be at the table.
My presentation focused on eight points that are key to managing tourism that include: contributions through charitable initiatives; community engagement; affordable housing and the adoption and enforcement of local transient vacation rental laws; transportation; environment and natural resources; native Hawaiian culture; homelessness; and tourism strategic plans.
In closing, I shared some of my experiences and the takeaways that I gleaned while enacting the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Initiative in the mid-1990's. These range from a willingness to consider all points of view to how to effectively use entrance fees to improve and maintain a specific natural resource.
I also held a Q&A session, and a positive and meaningful discourse ensued that I enjoyed immensely.
HLTA Kaua'i Malama Awards
Each year, HLTA’s Kaua‘i Chapter hosts their Mālama Awards which recognizes Kaua‘i HLTA members and the Garden Isle's exceptional visitor industry employees who make Kaua‘i a top-tier destination. Jared Higashi represented me at their 22nd annual event at the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i. My warmest congratulations to all of the individuals who were recognized .
I would like to give special recognition to HLTA Kaua‘i Chapter Executive Director Morgan Lopez and the Mālama Awards Planning Committee which includes Denise Wardlow, Jim Braman, Sandi Kato Klutke, and Shaun Borges. Finally, a special shout out to former Chapter President Paul Toner, and Kaua‘i Chapter President Dan King who hosted the event at his hotel.
Generational Membership Meeting
While the normal registration period has closed, you can still register to join us for our 192nd General Membership Meeting! We are less than two weeks away and I hope that you will be able to join us.
There has been a heavy focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness across the industry as of late. Staying true to this theme, on Friday evening at GMM, Hawai'i County Councilmember Rebecca Villegas will be hosting a fashion show that will showcase DIY fashion ideas that incorporate recycled materials into their creation. We encourage HLTA members who will be attending to keep in mind the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra and to show up wearing their finest "trashion" attire.
For some inspiration, please check out the photos below.
The Kukui Center
Earlier this week, I was invited to visit the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Kukui Center in downtown Honolulu to tour their facilities and meet with some of the programs that are housed in the complex on North Kukui and ‘A‘ala streets. The Kukui Center is the brainchild of the Kukui Children’s Foundation and its founding purpose was to create a center for abused children. The foundation purchased the historic building on the edge of Chinatown and spent more than two years raising funds and renovating to better serve the children and families who would one day utilize the facility. I was in on the ground floor helping to support the opening of the Center when I was Mayor.
It was such a pleasant surprise to learn that each of the eight organizations that call the Kukui Center home are Visitor Industry Charity Walk participants. These eight include: Family Promise of Hawai'i; Hale Kipa; Hawai'i Immigrant Justice Center; Hawai'i Literacy; Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies; Mediation Center of the Pacific; Leadership in Disabilities and Achievement of Hawai'i; and Kids Hurt Too Hawai'i.
Kids Hurt Too Hawai'i has an especially interesting program called HI Rising. Started in 2018, this program gives paid, work training experience to young adults who are either in the foster care system, about to age out of the foster care system, or a qualified Kids Hurt Too Hawai'i alumni. The participants staff and manage a retail location located in the Kukui Center. Over the course of the program, they are trained in a number of fields including: Computer Literacy; Introduction to Graphic Design; Fundamentals of Marketing; Retail and Personal Finances; Small Business Planning; Merchandising; Customer Service; and Mentoring and Life Skills Development.
ICYMI - Charity Walk Mahalo Ad
HLTA ran a special mahalo ad in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. To see the full resolution version, please click here.
IHS Waikiki SMART Program Launch
HLTA, along with the Hawai'i Tourism Authority and the Institute for Human Services, held a press conference on Monday to announce that HLTA and HTA would be donating $100,000 to help IHS launch the first phase of their Waikiki System Mediated Access to Rehabilitation and Treatment (SMART) Program. This program will focus on addressing individuals who are experiencing chronic homelessness in the Waikiki area. The donation, which will fund the program for the next year, was made possible by State matching funds which were administered by HLTA and HTA. Over the past 4 years, HLTA, its members and the visitor industry has contributed more than $1.4 million to IHS.
You can read more coverage on this new program at the links below:
"State, tourism agencies fund effort to reduce chronic Waikiki homelessness," Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Sept. 24, 2019
"HLTA and HTA donate $100,000 to help address homelessness in Waikiki," Pacific Business News, Sept. 24, 2019
General Membership Meeting
I am pleased to announce that Hilo native and 14-time Nā Hoku Hanohano award winner Mark Yamanaka will be playing a live set at HLTA’s 192nd General Membership Meeting during our reception on Friday evening. Mark has released four albums to date and has garnered numerous awards including Song of the Year, Single of the Year, Album of the Year, and Male Vocalist of the Year.
In the video below, check out Mark's rendition of Johnny Lum Ho’s Ka Leo O Ka Moa performed on stage at the historic Hawai'i Theater.
8th Annual Ka 'Ikena Reception
Mahalo to all who attended HLTA's 8th Annual Ka 'Ikena Reception! A special thank you to the KCC Culinary and Hospitality students who made this year's event a successful one.
Help, Understanding, & Group Support
Mufi was invited to HUGS' monthly, family get together at the organization’s facility in Kaimuki. HUGS, which stands for Help, Understanding, & Group Support, was founded in 1982 to assist and serve families who have a child in treatment for a serious disease. Their services support the child in treatment as well as the family members who may be struggling financially, spiritually, or emotionally.
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