2018 Charity Walk Celebrates 40 Years with New Record Totals - $2.6 million overall !
This year, I am thrilled to announce that our Visitor Industry Charity Walk has set records across all counties! Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island had substantial year-over-year increases with $363,100 and $320,000 raised on each respective island. Maui County continues to set the bar higher as they closed out the 2018 Charity Walk with a grand total of (over) $1.4 million. Finally, with last-minute monies rolling into the HLTA office, Oahu was able to crack the half-million mark with a new record of $507,800 raised. Therefore, the new grand total from our 40th annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk now stands at an unparalleled $2.6 million! I would like to send a very big mahalo to all of our chapters, our members, and to the community for your kokua in this banner year.
That being said, August and September marks the season of giving as we award worthy non-profit organizations from across the state with monies raised from Charity Walk. The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association held their check distribution ceremony on August 9th at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas, the Kaua‘i Chapter followed suit this past Wednesday at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort (Charity Walk takes giant step, The Garden Island), and the Hawai‘i Island Chapter will be holding their distribution event at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa on August 29th. To close out the year, we will be handing out allocations to Oahu’s many deserving charities on September 13th at Roy’s Eating House 1849 Waikiki.
Jon Yoshimura Appointed to State Senate
On Tuesday, I visited the State Capitol where Jon Yoshimura was officially sworn in to the State Senate, filling the vacancy left by Senator Will Espero for District 19. Jon is a former colleague of mine as we served together on the Honolulu City Council. Congratulations on the gubernatorial appointment Jon, and we wish you the best as you serve through the interim.
HLTA Bob Holden Scholarship Recipient, Symphony Broden
HLTA President and CEO Mufi Hannemann, Scholarship Golf Committee Chair Don Takaki, 2018 Bob Holden Recipient Symphony Broden, HLTA Vice-Chair Michael Jokovich, HLTA Vice President Dean Nakasone at our 19th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament last week.
Through its Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation, HLTA sponsors scholarships for college students majoring in travel industry management programs and awards outstanding high school students for their leadership in the community. Our philanthropic mission is to provide educational opportunities to students who have a strong motivation to improve tourism in Hawaii and strive to be future leaders in the hospitality industry.
A great example of our scholarship is our 2018 Bob Holden scholarship recipient, Symphony Broden. Broden was presented with her scholarship at our Golf Tournament awards reception. Originally from Texas, Symphony moved to the islands to pursue her dream of becoming a hotel general manager. Symphony is currently a junior at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu and a full-time employee at Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina. In addition to her already demanding schedule, Symphony finds time to volunteer at Lyon Arboretum; a 200-acre botanical garden located in the heart of Manoa Valley.
Our scholarship programs provide financial assistance to nearly 20 students annually like Symphony, in support of their continued educational endeavors. This could not be possible without our partnerships with the University of Hawaii Foundation, the Pauahi Foundation, and most importantly, the generous support of our members through efforts like our Scholarship Golf Tournament.
For more information on HLTA’s scholarships, click here.
2018 Primary Elections
August 11th was a night full of anticipation as our State Office of Elections announced the results of the 2018 primary elections. Throughout the evening, I was at my traditional election night spot: on The Mike Buck Show, offering commentary as the first, second, and third printouts were published. I was joined by UH School of Communications Chair Gerald Kato, OHA Trustee Keli’i Akina, and former Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona.
I would like to commend all the candidates that participated in this year’s primary election for their willingness to serve, endure the rigors of campaigning and for providing voters with choices.
As we head into the general election, we will be holding another round of endorsements for candidates interested in HLTA’s support. Additionally, we will be keeping a close eye on a few key races - at the state level, the Gubernatorial and Lieutenant Gubernatorial contests, at the county level, the Mayoral competition on Kaua‘i and Maui and some key Constitutional Amendments that will be on the ballot in November.
For information on the 2018 Primary Election results, click here.
19th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament
Mahalo to all our golfers who came out yesterday, August 9th, to our 19th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament at The Hawaii Prince Golf Course in Ewa Beach. Our annual tournament is an all-day affair filled with lots of ono food and fun in the sun, but best of all, it’s for a great cause. This year we sold out 82 teams with 246 golfers participating in the tournament.
The scholarship monies we raise through this tournament help to facilitate 18 diverse scholarships throughout the year. While many HLTA scholarships are geared toward students who are pursuing hospitality-focused curriculum, we also offer scholarships to the children of members of our association. Other scholarships include partnerships with the University of Hawaii Foundation for community college and culinary programs, and the Pauahi Foundation. The reach of our hospitality industry is wide, and we continue to encourage the growth of our future leaders in whatever facet speaks to them.
This year’s tournament featured three dynamic refreshment stations: ENPRO Environmental provided tacos, Mai Tais and Cigars; Interstate Restoration served beer and Sake from Young’s Market and had a live sushi chef and DJ; and Hard Rock Cafe featured pulled pork sliders with yuzu coleslaw and fresh apple slices. Mahalo to all our vendors who braved the heat and shared the spirit of hospitality with our golfers. A special shoutout to Justin Yoshino of Tripe F Holdings for generously providing 5 beverage purveyors on the course yesterday.
I would like to take this moment to personally thank our HLTA Scholarship Golf Tournament committee, as well as committee chairperson Don Takaki of Hawktree International. Also, mahalo to our generous sponsors, without whom this tournament would not be possible. Diamond Sponsor, Kaiser Permanente, and our Dinner Sponsor, Pacific Guardian Life Insurance Company, Ltd, our Sapphire Sponsors, Interstate Restoration Hawaii and Noguchi & Associates, Inc. and all those who provided donations for our live auction, lucky draw giveaways, door prizes, and gift bags.
Maui County Charity Walk Distribution
For our 40th Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk this year, Maui County raised a record-breaking $1,422,535 dollars. Yesterday, Maui Island and Molokai saw those monies actualized in tangible form, as the over 50 community nonprofits received their disbursed Charity Walk grants. All funds raised on each island, remain on their respective island, and today Lanai island received their checks as well. We are so proud of our industry and its philanthropic commitment; the other islands will be releasing their Charity Walk grants in the coming weeks as well, so be sure to keep an eye on your inbox if you are a non-profit who participated in Charity Walk!
Vote on Saturday!
As a reminder, the Primary Election is tomorrow, Saturday the 11th. It may seem trivial, but I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that voting is both your civic duty and responsibility. Voting is the driver of a true democracy, and the Primary Election is just as important as the General Election. If you are not yet registered to vote, don’t worry; tomorrow, polling places will be allowing same-day registration. You can also opt into absentee ballots at the polls tomorrow. For the list of HLTA-endorsed candidates, please click here. To find your polling place, please click here. For a list of acceptable documentation to register to vote, please click here.
General Membership Meeting Sponsorships
As we announced last week, we are enthusiastically anticipating our 191st General Membership Meeting at the Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina, October 11-13. If you are interested in participating in our exclusive Sponsor Showcase and sponsoring our GMM, please click here. If you are not yet registered for GMM, please click here. We look forward to seeing you in Ko Olina!
HLTA has been sponsoring a radio show called “Tourism Tuesday” on AM690 THE ANSWER, via the Mike Buck Show with Mike Buck. We have been highlighting different members from all across the hospitality industry, for about a year now. And we would like to feature you – if you’re an active member of HLTA, and interested in sharing your contributions to the visitor industry over the radio in-studio in Kalihi on a Tuesday morning from 7-8am, please submit your request, a brief bio, and 3-5 talking points to Executive Assistant Ashley Yonamine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Political HIP: Meet the Candidates
I would like to send a big mahalo to everyone who attended our Hospitality Industry Pau Hana event this past Thursday at Lucky Strike Social Honolulu. The evening was filled with ono pupus, complimentary bowling, and of course lively conversation! As we are in an election year, I took the opportunity to tie this particular HIP event to our mission of advocacy. With just over a week left until the primary elections, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to have HLTA’s endorsed candidates come out to meet our members. As we rolled into the night, I gave our honored guests an opportunity to address the attendees.
I’d like to give a big shout out to the candidates that travelled both near and far to join us that evening. A warm mahalo to Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Ford Fuchigami - who was representing Governor Ige, Senator Lorraine Inouye, Rep. Tom Brower, Rep. Romy Cachola, Rep. Sharon Har, Rep. Sam Kong, Rep. Lei Learmont, Rep. Bob McDermott, Rep. Gene Ward, Councilmember Trevor Ozawa, Kika Bukoski, Bobby Bunda, Scot Matayoshi, and Pohai Ryan for attending our event and taking the opportunity to talk story with our members. On behalf of the HLTA, I would like to express our gratitude for your continued support of the hospitality industry and wish you the best in the upcoming elections!
A special mahalo to our host Lucky Strike Social Honolulu’s General Manager Gordon Chow, and his team, for the exceptional service, and to Sukit Kanaprach of The Orchid Lei Company for the generous donation of beautiful lei.
Vote in the Primary Election
As of this past Monday, July 30 through Thursday, August 9, registered voters are able to visit early walk-in voting locations within their respective counties to cast their ballots for the primary election. This is a wonderful opportunity to ensure that you as a voter take advantage of your right and responsibility to vote.
If you’re on the island of Oahu, you can walk-in and vote at Honolulu Hale or Kapolei Hale, Monday through Saturday, 8am-4pm. If you’re on another island, please click here for a list of your early voting locations. To check your voter registration status, or for more information, please visit elections.hawaii.gov or call 453-VOTE (8683).
Announcing Our 191st General Membership Meeting
This year, we are pleased to announce that our 191st General Membership Meeting (GMM) will be held at the Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina from October 11-13. Kudos to Four Seasons General Manager Charlie Parker , who when I first broached the subject of having our GMM at his property has been working zealously with us to make it happen... We will have many activities for our members to participate, learn, exhibit, and enjoy; including a golf tournament, an industry lunch and learn, and government forums. If you are ready to register, or would like to see our tentative calendar, please click here. We look forward to seeing you in Ko Olina!
Drake Biel Donates to Jefferson Elementary
Last month, HLTA’s Oahu Chapter raised a record $1,400 through their annual Back-to-School Supply Drive at Kahala Mall for Ali’iolani and President Thomas Jefferson Elementary Schools. These funds and school supplies could not have been collected without the hard work and support of our members, including a generous donation of $1,000 from Allied member, Drake Biel of Drake Biel and Associates. Today, per Drake’s request, we presented President Thomas Jefferson Elementary School Principal Garrett Zakahi with gift cards valued at $1,000 to go towards purchasing supplies needed throughout the school year. Mahalo Drake for the contribution to your alma mater, and for the support you have provided the keiki and the community.
Pohai Ryan for OHA Trustee
One of HLTA’s longstanding members and close friends, Pohai Ryan, former Executive Director of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association and a former State Senator, is currently running for one of three Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) statewide At-Large Trustee seats. In her past capacity as the head of NAHHA, Pohai has actively engaged with HLTA’s initiatives and programs. As a member of the HLTA Government Affairs Committee, Pohai has helped launch our Tourism Day at the Capitol event. Subsequently, she also chaired the event every year since its inception in 2016. In addition to her commitment displayed in our advocacy efforts, Pohai and her team have also been active with our Visitor Industry Charity Walk and have participated as a sponsor for our annual Citizen-Scholar Awards on multiple occasions.
We send a big mahalo to Pohai for her hard work at the helm of NAHHA, and for her participation with our association. We encourage you to seriously consider her candidacy to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and we wish her the very best in all her future endeavors!
Denny's Opens on Corner of Kuhio and Kapahulu Avenues
The Diamond Head entrance to Waikiki just gained a new gem. A beautifully-designed “Denny’s” franchise has opened its doors and kitchen to the Kapahulu concourse, adding another appealing touch to the area fronting the Honolulu Zoo. The nearly 5,000 square foot, “Hawai‘i” vibe restaurant is inserting another 120 jobs to the Waikiki district and will serve up their popular comfort food round the clock. As a valued addition to the Kuhio/Kapuhulu intersection, I am sure that we will see a resulting effect of new development in the area, as well as an increase in public safety.
I was able to attend their grand opening on Wednesday, featuring some ono and tasty specialties by Chef Chai Chaowasaree and was pleased to see many familiar visitor industry faces at the welcome event. Congratulations to my long time friend, former First Hawaiian Bank honcho, Don Horner and Medhat Bechay and his lovely wife Maria on their successful opening; we look forward to many future pancake and waffle runs.
Save the Date! HIP Wednesday, 8/1
HLTA members at the HYPE Membership Drive and Mixer at Lucky Strike Social Honolulu.
Our upcoming Hospitality Industry Pau Hana is an event you’re not going to want to miss! Besides it is very timely , as more and more people are doing absentee voting and not waiting to vote on August 11 - Primary Election Day. Mark your calendars for next Wednesday, August 1 from 5pm to 7 pm at Lucky Strike Social Honolulu (in Ala Moana Shopping Center) for our Political HIP: MEET THE CANDIDATES!
HLTA-endorsed candidates will be in attendance to meet and mingle with all of you. Please join us for an evening of networking, ono grinds, and complimentary bowling. Registration is still open, you may register for HIP HERE. I look forward to seeing you all there!
Pictorial Membership Directory
One of the many benefits that HLTA provides is our coveted Pictorial Membership Directory. This annual member exclusive, produced in partnership with Trade Publishing, is a large production, and we need your help. If you are the primary HLTA contact for your business, please update your contact information with us, either via this Google Form or submit this PDF to Melina at email@example.com by Friday, August 3rd. We appreciate your prompt assistance in this endeavor, as we aim to have these printed and available as soon as possible.
On Saturday July 21st, the Hawai'i Lodging and Tourism Association announced its endorsements for state and county candidates in the Primary Election. This is after a comprehensive endorsement review process by its endorsement committee, which included representatives from each county and a final vote of approval by the HLTA Board of Directors.
HLTA prides itself on providing its members with the utmost value and quality, in advocacy and in all that we do. Please give these candidates your serious consideration, and be sure to vote in the Primary Election on August 11th. Absentee ballots should be in your mailboxes in short order.
First Congressional District Forum
Yesterday, Thursday the 19th, marked the last in our trio of political forums. Mahalo to all who attended our First Congressional District Forum with candidates former Congressman Ed Case, Lieutenant Governor Doug Chin, Representative Beth Fukumoto, Representative Kaniela Ing, Senator Donna Mercado Kim, and Honolulu Council Chair Ernest Martin.
This debate series has been hosted by HLTA in partnership with the Retail Merchants of Hawai‘i, Waikiki Improvement Association, and the Waikiki Neighborhood Board.
I would like to send my gratitude to the candidates, our moderator, Gina Mangieri of KHON2, and panelists Ashley Nagaoka of Hawaii News Now and Allison Schaefers of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, for doing such an exemplary job sparking lively discourse among the candidates. I would also like to extend a special mahalo to our hosts, the Kyo-ya group and Sheraton Waikiki, for a successful event.
If you are eager for more opportunities to mix and mingle with your potential elected officials, HLTA is hosting a political Hospitality Industry Pau Hana: Meet the Candidates on August 1st at Lucky Strike. HLTA-endorsed candidates will be in attendance and are looking forward to meeting you! Please register here.
Hawaii Public Radio: The Future of Tourism in the Hawaiian Islands
On Monday morning, I was featured on Hawai‘i Public Radio as a guest of Chris Vandercook and Catherine Cruz on their talk show “The Conversation.” I was joined by Hawai‘i State Representative, and House Tourism Chair, Richard Onishi as we spoke to the current status and future outlook of Tourism in our state. We covered key issues relevant to the industry which included the ongoing discussion of transient vacation rentals in our communities, the allocations of the transient accommodations tax, economic diversification and its direct tie to tourism, and public safety to name a few. We also discussed the outlook of our state’s infrastructure through the perception that we are reaching a tipping point of over-tourism in our islands. Our discussions included insight from Elizabeth Churchill, Owner of Churchill Group, and a former executive at Aqua-Aston Hospitality, who weighed in on a few of these key issues.
To listen to the full show, please click on the following link: The Future of Tourism in the Hawaiian Islands.
Oahu Chapter's Back to School Drive
Mahalo to everyone who came out this past weekend to participate with our Oahu Chapter Back to School Supply Drive! This was the third year the Oahu Chapter Committee held a drive to collect much needed school supplies at Kahala Mall. Donations collected benefit students at Jefferson Elementary School and Ali’iolani Elementary School for the upcoming school year and help ease the burden for families who are facing financial hardships.
This year, the drive amassed several boxes of school supplies and $1,400 in monetary donations, which were used to purchase Longs gift cards for both schools. I’d like to send a special mahalo to Drake Biel, and all our members who generously donated materials so that students will have the tools they need to learn. Mahalo to our Oahu Chapter Chair, Bonnie Kiyabu and Jodi Uehara for coordinating the drive and the committee members who came out to volunteer that day. Your support of our keiki is truly making a difference.
HLTA Member Microfridge Continues to Donate
Tim Bales, left, presents mini fridge and microwave to Adult Friends For Youth’s Malakai “Mo” Maumalanga, Director of Redirectional Services (center), and HLTA Vice President Dean Nakasone (right).
Last week at the Hospitality and Foodservice Expo, veteran HLTA member Microfridge graciously continued their “legacy gift,” a mini refrigerator and microwave donation. For the past several years, when West Coast Key Account Manager Tim Bales flies in for the Expo, he brings units to display: and when the Expo wraps up, he charitably gives his product to a local non-profit. This year’s beneficiary is Adult Friends For Youth, a longtime youth advocate and gang prevention organization which is slated to begin an increased presence here in Waikiki later this year. Much mahalo to Tim and Microfridge for their continued generosity.
Oahu Chapter: Back to School Drive Tomorrow
Tomorrow (July 14th) our Oahu Chapter will be holding its 3rd annual Back to School Supply Drive. This year’s drive will benefit Ali‘iolani and Jefferson Elementary Schools.
Education is a key priority at HLTA, and we need your help as we continue to support our keiki. Members of HLTA’s Oahu Chapter will be collecting much needed school supplies from 9 am -2 pm at Kahala Mall (in-between Macy’s and Longs). Come and visit us as we help equip our youth to have the best school year possible!
Supplies to donate might include: Composition books (wide), composition book (journal), crayons, Crayola watercolor paint, dry erase markers (black/blue), pencil erasers, glue (6 oz), glue sticks, highlighters, addition/subtraction flashcards, multiplication flashcards, division flashcards, pens (ballpoint-blue, black & red), pencil box, pencils #2, pencils (colored), washable markers, twin pocket folders w/ fasteners, post-it notes(3"x3"), manila folders, disinfecting wipes, paper towels, boxes of tissue, & scissors.
Update Your Contact Info for the 2018-2019 Pictorial Directory
As we work on our 2018-2019 Pictorial Membership Directory, I would like to encourage all of you to please update your member information and photo (in color) with our Director of Membership & Communications, Melina Hicks.
We’ve made it easier for you to submit your updated information this year via Google Form. Through this platform, we will be able to receive your submissions right away. If you do not have a Google account, please email Melina at Mhicks@hawaiilodging.org.
The HLTA Pictorial Membership Directory is one of the most valuable tools we offer our members, so please take a few moments to update us on your new job location, your new title, or if your contact information has simply changed.
We appreciate your cooperation and we’re very excited to complete and publish the newly improved and updated Pictorial Membership Directory!
Lieutenant Governor's Forum at the Prince Waikiki
I would like to extend a sincere mahalo to all those who came to our Lieutenant Governor forum today at the Prince Waikiki with candidates State Senator Will Espero, State Senator Josh Green, State Senator Jill Tokuda, Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho, and former Board of Education member Kim Coco Iwamoto. The candidates were engaged and presented themselves very well.
Today’s debate marked the second of our 2018 political forums, hosted by HLTA in partnership with the Retail Merchants of Hawai‘i, Waikiki Improvement Association, and the Waikiki Neighborhood Board. I would like to send my gratitude to the candidates, our panelists Gina Mangieri of KHON2 and Allison Schaefers of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and our Moderator Yunji de Nies for the wonderful job they did in stimulating the conversation and discussion that took place. I would also like to extend a special mahalo to our host, Kisan Jo and the Prince Waikiki team, for another successful event.
If you missed today’s debate, not to worry, there is still one more forum in our 2018 political series: our next event will host the 1st Congressional District Race, on Friday, July 19th, at the Sheraton Waikiki, from 3 pm – 4:30 pm. Candidates vying for the 1st Congressional District seat will be discussing their views and platforms on Hawai‘i’s visitor industry.
Political Forums Continue Through July
I would like to extend a sincere mahalo to all those who came to our gubernatorial forum on Monday at the Prince Waikiki with candidates Governor Ige and Congresswoman Hanabusa. In case you missed it, our debate was featured on KITV 4 News, which can viewed here, and made the front page of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, here. It was a great way to start our week, full of scintillating discussion sparked by probing questions asked by both our audience, as well as our panelists, Diane Ako and Allison Schaefers. Mahalo to our panelists, moderator Mike Buck, and our host, Kisan Jo and the Prince Waikiki team.
If you missed it, not to worry: our next political forum will be for the Lieutenant Governor’s race, on Friday, July 13, also at the Prince Waikiki, from 10 am - 12 noon. Candidates vying for the title of Lieutenant Governor will be sharing their platform on key issues relevant to the visitor industry.
Featured candidates, moderator, and panelists:
This event is free and open to all members of HLTA. We encourage you to bring your management teams and associates; please register below.
Engineers Advisory Council (EAC) Meeting
Mark your calendars for an exciting double-header at the July EAC meeting, on July 19th at the Sheraton Waikiki. Generous co-sponsors VivoAquatics and Best Buy for Business will be making presentations and donating a dozen door prizes including a 49” outdoor TV worth over $2,500!
Please RSVP to Dean Nakasone at firstname.lastname@example.org by July 16th if you wish to attend. Mahalo for your support and cooperation. Note: $25 to attend if your organization is a current HLTA and EAC member. If not, you’ll be charged $75. Only attendees of bona fide EAC member organizations are eligible for door prizes, including the TV.
Hawaii Lodging, Hospitality & Foodservice Expo
e look forward to seeing you all at the 2018 Hawaii Lodging, Hospitality & Foodservice Expo on July 11th and 12th at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. We pride ourselves on giving members opportunities, such as the HLHF Expo, to showcase your products and services to other businesses, while networking and building lasting relationships.
This year, Women in Lodging is hosting their annual educational forum, CANNABIS IN THE WORKPLACE: What Employers Need to Know. I encourage you to register and attend this event, as this is a concern now facing many businesses . Last year, WIL hosted a very informative forum on human trafficking which reviewed indicators of trafficking within the industry, and covered steps that members can take to address this issue. With cannabis in the workplace as another timely subject matter, I am looking forward to hearing the discussions that ensue.
For more information about the forum or to register, see below.
Another of our committees, the Hospitality Housekeeping Council, will be hosting a meeting that coincides with the HLHF Expo on July 12th. The Council is growing both on Oahu and Hawaii Island with plans to expand statewide. They always have an outstanding turn out for their monthly meetings. Congratulations, Housekeeping Council and keep up your great work. If you are not yet a part of the Council and would like to be, please see below for more information.
“Na Hoku O’ Ka’anapali” Inaugural Recipient, Angela Nolan
Congratulations to Board Member Angela Nolan, Vice President of Resort Operations for Vistana Signature Experiences. Angela has just been named the first “Na Hoku O’ Ka’anapali,” by the Kaanapali Beach Resort Association.
The title of ‘Na Hoku O’ Ka’anapali’ is bestowed upon individuals who give back to the community, are respected by their peers, and simply put, exemplify the best of Ka’anapali.
Angela is not only a Board Member of HLTA but also a member of the Executive Board. She is also the current Maui Chapter Chairperson. Furthermore, she serves on the board of the Maui Visitors Bureau, American Resort Development Association, and the Kaanapali Beach Resort Association.
Congratulations, Angela: your leadership in the visitor industry is recognized and appreciated by us all.
What a lively discussion we had this morning between the two leading candidates for Governor in the Democratic Primary, Governor David Ige, and Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa. Held at the Prince Waikiki, the forum was well-attended by a couple hundred leaders, stakeholders, and associates of the hospitality industry. The event was moderated by Mike Buck of Salem Media Group, and excellent questions were posed by Honolulu Star-Advertiser Waikiki Bureau Chief, Allison Schaefers Dubovsky, and KITV4 Weekend News Anchor, Diane Ako. The audience also asked questions pertaining to the candidate’s positions on key visitor industry issues and they also got to ask each other questions. The next forum, which once again will be co-sponsored by HLTA, the Retail Merchants of Hawai‘i, Waikiki Improvement Association, and the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, will be with the Lieutenant Governor Candidates on Friday, July 13th, at the Prince Waikiki from 10:30 am -12:00 pm. Kudos to Prince Resorts Hawai'i President Kisan Jo and his team for hosting these forums.
Kauai Chamber of Commerce General Membership Meeting (GMM) Exploring the world of STEM!
This past Tuesday, the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association joined the Family and Friends of Agriculture and the Hawaii State Science Olympiad in sponsoring the Kauai Chamber of Commerce’s second quarter GMM at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Spa. This is the third year in a row that HLTA has engaged with the Kauai Chamber in supporting their membership meetings. The Star Wars-themed event focused in on the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and recognized talented science scholars from across the state. I was joined by HLTA Kauai Chapter Chair Jim Braman, and Chapter Vice-Chair Paul Toner - who was hosting the event at his property. During my address to the attendees, I highlighted the significance of STEM in our educational institutions and the important role that it plays in our visitor industry. I addressed the common misperception held by some that tourism is simply just a “service industry” which makes it unappealing to the millennial generation. The visitor industry, in fact touches nearly all facets of our economy, especially in the field of STEM; this is evident through HLTA’s embrace of committees such as our Engineer’s Advisory Council, HYPE, and Hospitality I.T. Council. I also took a moment to recognize one of my guests that evening, Laura Richards, General Manager of the Hanalei Colony Resort, whose property became a community hub during the Kauai floods recovery.
A little bit of background on Laura and her property - the Hanalei Colony Resort, located northwest of Wainiha Bay, was forced to shut down operations til September, due to the heavy damage that was caused to the North Shore of Kauai. Laura and her team, however, stepped up to the plate and became a beacon of light for their community by housing disaster relief teams and doubling up as a distribution center for food and medical services. Additionally, Laura opened her doors to the Hanalei Elementary, middle, and high schools to hold satellite classes for their students until the end of the semester. At the Kauai Chamber dinner, HLTA awarded gift certificates to the six teachers who exemplified the best of what it means to be an educator. The gifts were presented by Kauai Chapter hoteliers Jim Braman, Paul Toner, and Laura Richards to the Kauai District Superintendent, Bill Arakaki.
Kauai Marriott Resort – 5 years of interns
Prior to the Kauai Chamber of Commerce dinner on Tuesday, I had the opportunity to meet with Paul Toner and his Director of Human Resources, Chuck Brady, for a very special occasion. Sitting in the room with us were ten remarkable students, from the high school and collegiate levels, who are all currently interning at the Kauai Marriott Resort. The students span five different graduating classes and all have one thing in common; they are either attending, or are a product of, Kauai High School. Also joining us for our afternoon meeting was Kauai High’s hospitality head, Charlene Navarro, who was the proud recipient of our 2018 Na Po’e Pa’ahana Educator of the Year award. I have pointed to her as a stellar example of what a hospitality educator looks like, and the proof in the poi is her students are securing internships (many of them recurring) at top-notch resorts. I would like to commend Charlene and the team at the Kauai Marriott Resort for their mentorship to these budding youth, and I would like to wish these interns the best in all their future endeavors…the sky is the limit.
Scholarships with the Pauahi Foundation
Providing education-related opportunities is something I hold near and dear to my heart. HLTA, in partnership with the Pauahi Foundation, has committed to grant financial opportunities to native Hawaiian students looking to pursue a career in the tourism Industry.
This year, the Pouhana Hokele Scholarship was awarded to two college students who exemplified outstanding contributions in their community and have an interest in working in Hospitality. This year’s scholarship recipients were honored at a dinner at Kamehameha- Kapalama School which was attended by Dean Nakasone, Bonnie Kiyabu of the Hyatt Regency and a proud Warrior alum, and yours truly. This year’s honorees are :
Camryn Chinen, Kamehameha Schools - Kapalama
For five years, Camryn was a Hawaiian language and history student. She is currently studying hospitality at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and plans to move back home in hopes of landing a job at Aulani Disney Resort & Spa in Ko ‘Olina. Camryn wants to share her knowledge of the Hawaiian Culture with visitors, and provide them with an authentic experience and begin her career in hotel management.
Lia Ikeda, Kamehameha Schools – Ka'anapali
Lia Ikeda always knew she wanted to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. Having grown up on a hotel property in Ka'anapali, she learned about the inner workings of a hotel from a very young age. She is a current student at the University of California Irvine and is determined to find a job in the marketing department of a hotel. Lia wants to take what she’s learned and apply her knowledge to connect with people through creative campaigns driven by data.
Damien Stack, Kamehameha Schools - Kea’au
As announced in a previous column, through this partnership with the Pauahi Foundation, we also award one high school senior the Don Ho Scholarship to a student pursuing post-secondary studies in art and music. This year’s Don Ho Scholarship recipient is Damien Stack from Kamehameha Schools-Kea’au on Hawaii Island.
Damien’s experience in composing music and performing in musical theatre productions, not only made him a qualified candidate, but his passion in the arts made him this year’s selected scholar. This fall, he plans to study Musical Arts/Musical Theatre at University of Portland to continue pursuing his dreams of becoming a performing artist and sharing his work with the world.
Bringing Locals Back to Waikiki
If you know me, you know how much I love music and have probably heard me say there needs to be more venues featuring local musicians to encourage more of our residents to frequent Waikiki. Back in the day, Waikiki used to be the spot for many locals to surf, swim, cruise, and go enjoy a local artist or band play at a small hidden venue or at a hip place along Kalakaua Avenue. Bringing back that concept is the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, and I couldn’t be more excited.
General Manager Lynette Eastman collaborated with Paulele Alcon, music promoter and local entrepreneur of Hawaii’s Finest Clothing to introduce a 4 Sunday summer concert series, “Revive the Live Pool Side” featuring Kapena, Poly Finest Fest Artists & Sammielz, Glenn Awong & Maoli and other guest artists. The intent is to take locals back to the Waikiki of yester-year, while simultaneously offering Surfjack guests a memorable experience right in the heart of the hotel.
This past Sunday was the second concert of the 4-part series. The next Revive the Live Pool Side concerts will be on July 29 & August 19. Kudos to the Surfjack for bringing visitors and locals together to enjoy and appreciate the musical talent from our islands.
Register to Vote
Now, more than ever, is the time to take action. Elections represent an opportunity to incite change. Registering to vote, and voting, is a fundamentally American democratic right and privilege and it would be a shame to squander it. I strongly encourage everyone to register to vote. The primary election is approaching rapidly, and the deadline to register to vote is in just two weeks.
Furthermore, take the time to research your potential representatives. Be an informed voter, and elect officials who will be strong advocates for our industry issues. You can register to vote online, and request absentee ballots as well.
Primary Election Registration Deadline: July 12th
Primary Election: August 11th
General Election Registration Deadline: October 8th
General Election: November 6th
Save the Date! HIP 8/1
Our upcoming Hospitality Industry Pau Hana is an event you’re not going to want to miss! This time we’re adding a new spin to our quarterly networking event. Mark your calendars for August 1 from 5pm to 7 pm at Lucky Strike at Ala Moana Shopping Center for our Political HIP: MEET THE CANDIDATES!
HLTA-endorsed candidates will be in attendance to meet and mingle with all of you. Please join us for an evening of networking, ono grinds, and complimentary bowling. Registration will be available on our website soon!
Stay in the know
Keep up with HLTA through our blog! Let us know what you think in the comment box below each post.