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.
General Membership Meeting
In the coming weeks, I’d like to share with you some of the events that we have planned for our 192nd General Membership Meeting which is to be held at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort from October 17th through 19th. The one event that I’m sure will be a hit this year is the tailgate party that HLTA will be hosting on Saturday evening to watch UH play the United States Air Force Academy. Join us for good fun, fellowship, and to root for Coach Rolovich and the Warriors as they take on the Fighting Falcons.
As a friendly reminder, please note that the cutoff date for regular GMM registration rates is September 30th (midnight), so please register as soon as possible. Once this deadline has passed, the cost of registration will rise from $375 to $425. It is also important that you register soon so that you may take advantage of our GMM room rate which starts at $295 per night. If you have any questions about registration, the room rate, or GMM in general, please do not hesitate to contact HLTA Director of Membership and Special Projects Ashley Yonamine at (808) 923-0407 or via email at email@example.com.
Ka 'Ikena Reception
The 2019 Ka ‘Ikena Reception is next week Tuesday, September 24 and there are still seats available. Do not miss out on a night of delicious French cuisine prepared by the students of the Kapi‘olani Community College Culinary Arts Program. Not only will you get to taste food prepared by the future stars of Hawai‘i’s culinary scene, but also support the program that has groomed and prepared them for long and successful careers in the restaurant business. Please take a look at the menu below to see what’s in store and then click here to reserve your seat.
Monster X Tour 2020
This past April, monster trucks made their long-awaited return to the islands and fans of all ages flocked to Aloha Stadium to enjoy the show. It had been 23 years since the last time a monster truck rally was held on island and the event was a smash hit. It was another example of a sport that has a strong local fanbase and underscored the need to build a new stadium in order to accommodate world-class events like the Monster X Tour.
This week, I participated in a press conference at First Hawaiian Bank, the major sponsor, where it was announced that the Monster X Tour will be returning to O'ahu to host the Monster X Tour World Finals at Aloha Stadium on April 25th and May 2nd of 2020. The 2020 show is slated to include bull-riding, a freestyle motocross event, and a monster truck ride. Additionally, gear head fans will have multiple opportunities to meet the drivers and get on an actual monster truck. Tickets are already on sale on Ticketmaster or at the Aloha Stadium Box Office with prices starting at $28.
Mufi is pictured above at the September 17 Monster X press conference.
Charity Walk Presentation
As you may have seen, over the past several weeks I have been visiting with various groups that were strong participants in this year’s Visitor Industry Charity Walk. There are so many amazing charities, nonprofits, schools, and other service organizations that participate in the Visitor Industry Charity Walk and I’ve really enjoyed getting to meet the people who not only make Charity Walk a success, but also provide important services in different spheres of our community.
Mufi stopped by the Waikiki Community Center to drop off a $7,000 check to the organization which provides multi-generational services to better the lives of Waikiki residents of all ages.
A check for $10,000 was presented to the Hawai'i Meals on Wheels Board of Directors on Tuesday evening.
Kalihi YMCA Visit
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk to a group of teenaged students who are active at the YMCA’s Kalihi Branch. As somebody who grew up just around the corner from this particular YMCA it was an invitation that I was all too happy to accept. The group and I talked story for about an hour covering everything from growing up in Kalihi to the effects that rail may have on their community. They were a group of bright and engaging young adults from the neighborhood of my youth and I had a great time meeting with them. Mahalo to the YMCA for having me and a special thank you to Justin Vele for contacting me and inviting me in to speak with the group.
Marriott Business Council Meeting
Mahalo to Marriott International for inviting me to give another legislative update at their Business Council Meeting. Being that one of the major pillars of what we do at HLTA is advocacy on behalf of our association members and the visitor industry as a whole, it is always great to talk story directly to industry members on the legislative matters that we are prioritizing at the State and County levels. My remarks covered a number of issues ranging from transient vacation rentals to "overtourism" to the TAT to Property Taxes and to the Airport .
If you or your organization would be interested in having me give a legislative briefing, please do not hesitate to reach out to the HLTA office. It is critically important that we are all aware of the challenges currently facing the visitor industry so that we may be prepared to effectively address them.
Ka 'Ikena Is Just Around the Corner
The 8th Annual Ka ‘Ikena Reception is fast approaching! The menu has been finalized and I am sure that you will love it. The KCC students have decided to focus on French cuisine, taking special care to choose dishes that represent the entirety of French cooking and the French homeland.
Let’s have a strong showing from hoteliers and restaurateurs to show these students that their futures are bright within our industry. Please reserve your seat for this event as soon as possible. You may reserve your ticket at the link below.
Charity Walk Allocation Events
In an effort to recognize some of the organizations that stood out at this year's Visitor Industry Charity Walk, I have been presenting these groups with an oversize check to match my oversize gratitude for all of their hard work and fundraising this year. It has been encouraging to interact with them and to learn just how important these funds can be to small groups of people who are trying to make big differences. It truly drives home the impact that Charity Walk has on a year to year basis.
This past Monday, I delivered a check to Hawai'i Arts Alliance in a special ceremony at Kalihi Kai Elementary School. The local arts advocacy group immediately gifted a portion of their Charity Walk allocation sum to Kalihi Kai in support of the school's Turnaround Arts Program which uses arts integration strategies in specific schools. This was an especially touching event for me as I attended Kalihi Kai Elementary School in kindergarten and first grade.
I also recently visited with the Hawai'i Chapter of The Compassionate Friends. This nonprofit provides friendship, solace, and hope to families who are grieving after the loss of a child. The organization was founded more than 40 years ago in England and has grown to include more than 600 chapters around the world.
Finally, I met with members of Aloha Medical Mission, a group that, over the past several years, has become a strong participant in Charity Walk. This volunteer-driven organization is based in Hawai'i and provides free health care to under-served populations around the state and beyond. Their services include everything from free dental clinics to surgical teams that are sent to developing countries around the Pacific.
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.
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