A HUGE mahalo goes out to all who took the time to come out and support The Salvation Army by ringing bells and raising funds. Thank you to our partners, Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau and Waikiki Improvement Association, as well our volunteer site leaders for helping us collect donations and spread holiday cheer across 6 locations in Waikiki.
The following are the totals raised at each of the participating locations:
Waikiki Shopping Plaza: $100.14
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa: $112.40
Bank of Hawaii Waikiki:$142.64
Hyatt Centric: $185.86
Waikiki Business Plaza: $267.89
Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort: $385.85
Waikiki Beach Walk: $427.72
Congratulations to the volunteers of Waikiki Beach Walk along with site leader Conchita Malaqui for raising the most donations during this event!
All donations will be going toward The Salvation Army's Kauluwela Corps, which is situated just outside of Chinatown and provides a variety of community and human service programs including the Family Services Office and Angel Tree campaign for Honolulu.
To volunteer in the upcoming Angel Tree Gift Distribution on December 21, 2017, contact Alex Roth to schedule a shift between 9am-12pm. The HLTA office will also be collecting toys and household items until December 15.
Island Air Job Fair:
Mahalo again to all who participated in the Island Air Job Fair last Thursday at the DKI International Airport’s interisland conference center. HLTA members that participated included Aqua-Aston Hospitality, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Kyo-Ya, Hilton Hotels, Marriott Ko Olina, Aulani Disney Resort, Enterprise Holdings, Securitas Security Services, Roberts Hawaii, Gourmet Events, Hawaiian Cool Water, Central Pacific Bank, Ritz Carlton Residences Waikiki, Waikiki Beach Marriott, Paradise Beverages, Oahu Transit Services, Servco Toyota, Hertz, Elite Parking and ABC Stores. Over 100 former employees of Island Air attended the job fair, and several of them received interviews and job offers that day. Mahalo to Denise Blas-Phillips of Island Air for voluntarily helping us coordinate this event.
There will be another job and resource fair today, Dec. 5 at Dillingham Shopping Plaza, being held by the Oahu Workforce Development Board and the Department of Community Services American Job Center Hawaii. Many of our members will once again be participating.
Maui Holiday Mixer:
Last week I had the pleasure of attending Maui Hotel & Lodging Association’s Holiday Mixer at the Andaz Maui at Wailea with HLTA Chair Gregg Nelson. We were greeted by HLTA Vice-Chair and the GM of this beautiful Wailea Resort Mike Jokovich, as well as MHLA Executive Director Lisa Paulson. Throughout the evening we mixed and mingled with dozens of our hard-working hospitality industry colleagues. We were able to pay tribute to the fine work of MHLA through the years, convey remarks on the 70th anniversary of our organization, and wish everyone a Mele Kalikimaka!
HLTA Holiday Party:
Speaking of holiday mixers, we hope you plan to attend HLTA’s Holiday Party next week on December 14! Get into the Holiday spirit and come in your most festive attire. We will even be holding a costume contest for the most spirited, most creative, and funniest outfits. As some of you know, I have over 50 Christmas-themed aloha shirts so you can bet I will be saving my best one for this event. As a reminder, the party will be held on Thursday, Dec. 14 from 5:30-8pm at SKY Waikiki. Make sure you register for the event on our website here.
Attack Warning Signal:
As many of you are aware, last week the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency began conducting a monthly test of an Attack Warning Signal. While the chances of an attack against Hawaii by North Korea are very slim, it is still imperative that we understand the protocols for the unlikely event of any nuclear attack. The Hawaii State Department of Defense has issued a public guidance summary for a nuclear detonation, including instructions to stay or go indoors, remain sheltered, and tune in to a local AM-FM radio station for information. Click here for a detailed FAQ and here for the guidance summary provided by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.
Mahalo to Malia Kahale:
We are sad to announce that our administrative assistant Malia will be leaving HLTA to accept a position with one our member organizations The Orchid Lei Co. During her time with HLTA, Malia has been an integral member of our team and as many of you know she was a constant fixture at all our events and activities. One of the main takeaways is that as she assumes her new professional endeavors, she intends to remain active with HLTA and the hospitality industry- a plus for us indeed!
Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards:
As many of you know, HLTA’s Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Awards is one of our association’s most anticipated events of the year. This is the time of year we honor the individuals who have contributed to the visitor industry through their exceptional service, professionalism, and aloha spirit, and continue to make Hawaii a premier destination.
Everyone who is nominated for this event is the cream of the crop, and to narrow down the best of the best to just one person per category is always an extremely tough decision for our esteemed judging committee. Excellence is illustrated in many ways, and we certainly see this through the incredible stories that are shared through this event. That’s why this year HLTA will be introducing a new component to the Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards by recognizing finalists in groups of small, medium, and large-size properties in the following categories:
Island Air Job Fair:
Mahalo to our fantastic members who will be contributing their time this Thursday for a job fair supporting Island Air’s former employees. We are one ohana and are all in this together so when a member of our industry needs assistance, we should be there to render our kokua.
The job fair will take place at Daniel K. Inouye Airport’s Interisland Conference Center from 10am- 3pm. Please contact Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Kudos again to the following companies for making HLTA's participation at the job fair possible:
We hope you can join us on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. for our annual Kettle Bell Ringing in support of Salvation Army. This year HLTA is partnering with the Waikiki Improvement Association and Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau for this fun service project. There will be 6 locations set up in Waikiki this year for volunteers to join in on the fun and “ring” in the holidays: Waikiki Shopping Plaza/Waikiki Business Plaza, Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort and Spa, Outrigger Waikiki Beach, Waikiki Beach Walk, and Waikiki Bank of Hawaii. Please contact Alex Roth of my staff at email@example.com to reserve a shift and learn more.
Last week Friday, the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association convened a government affairs meeting with members from the HLTA Board of Directors, Government Affairs Committee, and industry stakeholders in attendance. The meeting covered two very important issues on HLTA’s government affairs agenda: the Airport Corporation and transient vacation rentals and also touched on our upcoming plans to deal with the increasing level of crimes against tourists. What was originally a small working group focused on the issue of transient vacation rentals has now evolved into a larger group of industry stakeholders collaborating and sharing insights on the issues at hand.
Regarding the Airport Corporation bill, this measure has been a top priority of HLTA for the past two years and it will be carried over once again into the upcoming session in January. During the legislative interim, the Airlines Committee of Hawai‘i has continue to work on addressing previous concerns raised by the Attorney General’s office as well as the unions. We will continue to advocate for the passage of this bill with the goal of passing it out early in the legislative session thereby proving that the third time is indeed the charm. On a similar note, the outgoing Director of Transportation, Ford Fuchigami, recently briefed our members on the Airport Corporation and had DOT deputy director, Ross Higashi, give us a tour of the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. We can expect Fuchigami will continue to strongly back the proposal in his new responsibilities in the governor’s office, which is good news for us!
The transient vacation rental issue has been top of mind for a few years now as it is a major priority for HLTA and the visitor industry as a whole. Through the discussions that ensued on Friday we were able to share insights with one another on the latest on the draft memorandum of agreement between Airbnb and the State's Tax Department, bring everyone up-to-date on the issue of enforcement and permitting on the county fronts, discuss the Airbnb legislation that was recently passed in San Francisco, and strategize a unified approach for the next legislative session. In related news the City has established a working group to address the issue from the City & County of Honolulu's perspective in which HLTA has submitted officials to represent the visitor industry. This group will convene its work next week. Likewise, we will continue to hold our government affairs meetings on a regular basis and encourage your participation and involvement.
To reinforce our efforts, let me allude to the panel discussions at our General Membership Meeting held last month at the Turtle Bay Resort, where past and present government leaders emphasized the importance of leadership and collaboration in our advocacy efforts. It was stated that if we do not stand with a unified front and strong voice in the democratic process, then it will be extremely difficult to withstand or overcome the “assaults” and "threats " to the viability of the hospitality industry. That being said, HLTA will continue to ramp up our advocacy efforts at all levels of government, especially with the election year coming up in 2018.
Future of Existing Buildings:
Last Thursday I moderated a panel discussion for The Future of Existing Buildings event hosted by Chelsea Group, a building science consulting firm for commercial and institutional real estate. The whole session was done in collaboration with our Engineering Council. This was my second consecutive year moderating this event and I have to say I am continuously impressed by the passion and depth of knowledge from both the speakers and the audience. The panel featured a notable array of industry experts Dave Lee, Director of System Facilities and Biomedical Engineering at The Queen’s Medical Center; Josh Stanbro, Director of Sustainability at the City and County of Honolulu, and Jim Kelly, Vice President for Corporate Communications at Hawaiian Electric Company.
The panelists covered in-depth topics, such as the future challenges to our existing power infrastructure, finding reasonable solutions to mitigate sea water flooding and related problems in our most vulnerable buildings, and the necessary steps to take to ensure we can keep up with the vision of a sustainable Honolulu. It was also an opportunity to underscore the priority that the hospitality industry places on being green and sustainable. The topic of resiliency planning and investing was very pertinent in the day’s discussions. Particularly when it came to the discussion of changing the mindset of decision makers so that they be proactive and invest in upgrading their infrastructure before it causes problems. When I was Mayor I quickly learned that the question was not " if” but “when” when it comes to another natural disaster hitting our shores again. It is vitally important to always take a good hard look at our infrastructure and plan wisely so that we'll be prepared to take the necessary steps to deal with calamities and challenges whenever they may occur.
Island Air Job Fair:
In light of the unfortunate circumstances with Island Air, HLTA will be supporting a job fair on Thursday, November 30, 2017 from 10am – 4pm at the DKI Airport meeting rooms. When these situations occur it's important that we help our family, friends and neighbors get through these difficult times. We are strongly encouraging our member lodging properties and interested allied businesses to participate and support Island Air’s former employees. If you have questions on how your hotel/organization can participate, please contact Dean Nakasone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you all had a chance to tune in to the very first Tourism Tuesday radio show this morning on AM690 and 94.3 FM The Answer. Mike Buck and I discussed a myriad of topics, including Airbnb, TAT, Crime and Public Safety, DKI Airport, parking in Waikiki, and more. Next week we will have HLTA’s millennials Jared and Alex go on air to share their take on tourism as young professionals working in the hospitality industry, along with some of HLTA’s initiatives to engage the up-and-coming generation. If you would like to ask questions to be answered on air, feel free to contact the Mike Buck show on Facebook, or call in to the studio at 246-5467. As we mentioned in yesterday’s email blast, if you would like to be a guest on the show, please contact the HLTA office at email@example.com or 808-923-0407. We look forward to seeing this radio show grow, and hopefully our audience will begin to understand the importance of the hospitality industry more and more.
Ka Ikena Recap:
Mahalo to those of you who attended our Ka Ikena Dinner last Thursday at Kapiolani Community College, as well as to Chef Warren Uchida, KCC Dining Room Manager John Santamaria, Chef Gale O’Malley, and the students of the KCC culinary arts program for being wonderful hosts. This was our 6th annual Ka Ikena Dinner, and the 4th year that we presented a $1,000 scholarship to a student of the KCC Culinary Arts Program. This year, we awarded the scholarship to a young woman named Kylie-Amber Yue, who transferred to KCC from UH Manoa to pursue per passion for the Culinary Arts. She graduated with her KCC Associate in Science degree in Culinary Arts in May 2017 with honors, and is now enrolled in KCC’s Advanced Professional Certificate (APC) program, where her advanced culinary classes are held at the new Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head. After completing her APC, she intends to transfer to UH West Oahu to pursue the BAS degree in Culinary Arts Management.
Future of Existing Buildings:
This Thursday, November 16, HLTA Allied Member Chelsea Group will be holding their annual Future of Existing Buildings Event at the Pacific Guardian Center. I moderated a panel discussion for this event last year, and will be moderating again this year for the panel discussion on the “Industry Experts’ Vision for Honolulu” from 3:30pm-4:30pm. In addition to this panel, the agenda for the day’s events is packed with an HLTA Engineers Advisory Council meeting, more educational sessions, a tradeshow, and a Pau Hana networking session to round out the day. Some of the topics that will be covered throughout the day include: ‘living’ building assessments, tropical climate material failures, central plant optimization strategy, and future visions for power, regulations, and infrastructure investments. For those of you who are available, I highly recommend checking out this event. RSVP to Dricka Thobois at firstname.lastname@example.org
We still have a few seats left at our 6th annual Ka Ikena Dinner at Kapiolani Community College this Thursday, November 9. This event is a benefit for the KCC Culinary Arts Program and provides the culinary arts students with the opportunity to showcase their talents to the leaders of hospitality. We encourage you to bring your team members as there will be plenty of great food and memories to be made. Be sure to register here to reserve your spot.
As I mentioned in last week’s Mufi’s Message, several members of our Board and Government Affairs committee recently met with newly appointed administrative director Ford Fuchigami and members of the Airport Committee of Hawaii at the Daniel K. Inouye airport to learn about the airport’s current projects and the stark need for an independent Airport Corporation. This bill has been through the ringer during the past two sessions each time failing to make it out of the conference committee . We are hoping this corporation bill will finally pass during this upcoming legislative session so that our airport can have a management system that will have a laser-like focus on running and improving Hawaii’s airports. Today, my staff and I attended a Hawaii Visitor & Convention Bureau luncheon featuring Alaska Airline’s CEO Brad Tilden. During the question and answer portion of the session, both Tilden and Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Dunkerly, who was also in the audience, spoke very articulately about the strong need for this Airport Corporation. Tilden praised the efforts of the Airport Committee of Hawaii, and underscored the fact that airports run smoother when run by an independent administrative system. Dunkerly echoed Tilden’s sentiments and emphasized that the corporation would be funded by the airlines and concessions that operate within the airport, and no taxpayer dollars will be used to fund this entity.
Starting next week, HLTA with our partner Salem Media will begin “Tourism Tuesdays,” a radio show highlighting stories from Hawaii’s tourism industry. Every Tuesday from 7-8 a.m. on AM 690, Mike Buck and various members of HLTA will host the show during your morning commute. Tune in on November 14, as yours truly will kick off the first Tourism Tuesday episode. In the ensuing weeks we’ll bring on members of my staff to lead the conversation, and eventually we may be calling on you to share what’s new with your property or business on air. The purpose of this show is to continually inform the public about how important our industry is and all we do for the State. You all heard it at our GMM when Gov. John Waihe’e said that people have a passive-aggressive view of tourism; folks assume the industry will continue to thrive, but that won’t be the case if we take it for granted. Already, some community leaders are making assumptions that tourism will not be the number-one economic driver in our State’s future. Tourism Tuesdays will be a wonderful reminder to the public that the tourism industry not only is, and will continue to be, the economic engine of our State, but also gives back greatly to our communities.
Happy Halloween HLTA Members!
Halekulani awarded by Americans for the Arts
Every year, Americans for the Arts, through its Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) program, recognizes 10 businesses of all sizes for their exceptional involvement with the arts that enriches the workplace, education, and the community. These companies set the standard for excellence and serve as role models for others to follow. The honorees are celebrated each fall at the BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts in America gala in New York City.
For the very first time ever, a Hawaii hotel was recognized with this esteemed accolade this year at a gala on October 11. Nominated by Hawai’i Arts Alliance, a statewide non-profit widely known for its advocacy for the arts, the historic Halekulani was awarded for its support of local and international arts and culture programs. Peter Shaindlin, Halekulani Corporation’s Chief Operating Officer attended the gala in New York to receive the award. Congratulations Peter!
The full list of awardees included:
21c Museum Hotels (Louisville, KY)
Cardinal Health (Dublin, OH)
Guitar Center Inc. (Westlake Village, CA)
Halekulani Corporation (Honolulu, HI)
Houston Methodist (Houston, TX)
Humana Inc. (Louisville, KY)
Kaiser Permanente Colorado (Denver, CO)
Lincoln Financial Group (Radnor, PA)
Magic Hat Brewing Company (South Burlington, VT)
The Betsy-South Beach (Miami Beach, FL)
For more information on the “BCA 10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts” and the 2017 awardees, click here: https://www.americansforthearts.org/sites/default/files/pdf/2017/events/bca10/program_2017_final_rev920.pdf
NaHHA 20th Anniversary
Over the weekend HLTA attended a wonderful event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA) at the Royal Hawaiian’s Monarch Room. The event included thought-provoking addresses by John DeFries and John Aeto, a beautiful recognition of the organization’s founding members, and excellent entertainment by Amy Hanali’i, who gave us a preview of her new show to take place every Friday night at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua in Maui. To top it off, the Hawaiian-style menu was absolutely ‘ono. Congratulations to Executive Director Pohai Ryan and Office Manager Malia Sanders on an excellent event, and a successful 20 years of promoting Hawaiian culture, values, and traditions in our industry and ensuring that the legacy of Dr. George Kanahele and Senator Kenneth Brown lives on - Ku Kanaka!
Before he leaves officially for his new position in the Governor's Office as the Administrative Director, outgoing Department of Transportation Director Ford Fuchigami will be conducting a briefing and tour of the Daniel K. Inouye Airport for HLTA board members to solidify our support for a long overdue initiative. For the past two sessions, we and the Airlines Committee of Hawaii and other stakeholders have advocated for the passage of this measure to create such a corporation. We hope that what would emerge is a laser- like focus on all our state airports so that badly needed renovation, repairs and improvements can be completed on a more timely basis by the state. Let's hope the third times a charm in the upcoming 2018 session!
Sponsor Showcase - 10/20/17
Lunch & Learn - 10/20/17
"Out on the Farm" Evening Reception - 10/20/17
General Membership Meeting Business Session and Tourism Sustainability Panel - 10/21/17
HLTA 70th Anniversary Celebration ("Vintage Aloha" Reception) - 10/21/17
HLTA just got back from our 190th General Membership Meeting and WOW- what an unbelievable weekend. A huge mahalo to General Manager Danna Holck, Director of Conference Services Tiare Tipote, and the rest of the Turtle Bay Resort team for doing an incredible job serving our members and ensuring that the entire weekend was an extraordinary affair. There were many highlights of the three-day conference, including educational panels on strengthening the voice of hospitality and on sustaining Hawaii’s tourism industry, themed evening receptions, and an information packed meeting on the state of our association as well as a game plan for our association going into 2018.
We started the weekend on Thursday afternoon as we welcomed guests to the North Shore with a brief tour of Turtle Bay and a light reception at the beautiful Kuilima Point lawn. Friday morning kicked off our sponsor showcase with over 30 sponsors and a reverse trade show for hotel executives to get a first look at the showcase.
Our Friday Lunch & Learn educational panel featured government officials from all counties and all branches: Senator Kai Kahele from the Big Island, Representative James Tokioka from Kauai, Councilmember Ernie Martin of Oahu, and Council Chair Mike White of Maui. The four panelists, all strong supporters of tourism, discussed ways the hospitality industry can strengthen their voice in government. Their suggestions included supporting candidates who support the hospitality industry, keeping track of measures they are concerned with on the State Capitol website, and even considering the prospect of running for office to make sure our industry is represented in all halls of government. The conversation was especially timely leading up to the next legislative session and the 2018 elections. Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho also shared his mana'o highlighting his positive experiences in working with HLTA in his County.
As if the four legislators weren’t heavy hitters enough, we had an educational panel on Saturday with Former Governor George Ariyoshi, Former Governor John Waihe‘e, Outrigger Resorts Area General Manager Kelly Hoen, and Bickson Hospitality Group President & CEO and international hotelier Ray Bickson. Each of the speakers shed light on Hawaii’s tourism future by discussing the sustainability of Hawaii’s tourism industry. Bickson skillfully led the conversation through topics such as possibilities for economic diversity, keeping the Hawaiian culture alive, regulating transient vacation rentals, and the question of how much tourism is too much tourism. The panelists gave thought provoking responses, and challenged the audience to get involved in coming up with the solutions for Hawaii’s tourism future rather than relying on government to find the answers. Gov. Waihe'e decried "the passive/aggressive view" that too many lawmakers have towards hospitality and that tourism must be integrated into every discussion that is held about Hawaii's future. Kelly Hoen, a veteran of over two decades of luxury hotel experience, shared her up-close views of being part of the industry's push to get lawmakers to be responsive and sensitive to tourism concerns during the special legislative session in August. Gov. Ariyoshi summed up the challenge for the tourism industry saying, “If you can’t figure out the solutions to your problems, how do you expect the legislature to solve the problems in 60 days.”
Both the legislative panel and the tourism sustainability panel re-enforced key points that I shared during my "State of the Industry" report: we need to work harder, smarter and more creatively in advocating on behalf of Hawaii's # 1 industry. With 2018 being an election year, I’m proposing to all members of HLTA that we strengthen our endorsement process and provide more meaningful and substantive opportunities and activities for the candidates that we identify as strong supporters to solicit and garner our support. Tourism also should partner more with other economic development organizations who share our positions, and create a broad coalition of pro-jobs advocates to stand up for candidates that support our mutual objectives.
The conference was certainly an educational one, but we also let loose and had fun. On Saturday afternoon many of the attendees enjoyed the beautiful Kahuku weather on the golf course or at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Those who went to PCC got to experience a custom tour of the grounds with lunch at Pounders Restaurant in PCC’s new Hukilau Marketplace. On Friday and Saturday evenings, members brought out their festive side by dressing up for Friday’s Out on the Farm reception, which highlighted local agriculture with bites from North Shore food trucks and vendors, and Saturday’s Vintage Aloha celebration of HLTA’s 70th Anniversary. Saturday night was extra special as we took members back to the era in which we were founded, the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, and featured an amazing performance by Raiatea Helm and her 7-member band. The timing was perfect for Raiatea to perform, as this event primed her for her retro tour circa 1940s and beyond at Blue Note Waikiki a week later.
Mahalo again to all our members, sponsors, and guests for making the 190th General Membership Meeting a huge success. Many of you shared with me that this was an awesome experience and some of you even let me know that this was “the best GMM I've ever attended.” Our distinguished panelists also shared how impressed they were with HLTA as an organization and had no idea of all "the great things we do for Hawai'i.” We are already looking forward to next year’s meeting.
Harvest Festival & Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation:
From Turtle Bay, I headed to Kauai where I took in the Waimea Harvest Festival, in which HLTA once again co-sponsored this wonderful community grass-roots event. Thousands of folks and their ohana attended and 2500 pumpkins were given away to all the keiki that attended. Then on Tuesday, I addressed the membership of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation during their convention at the Kauai Marriott. Like HLTA, HFBF is a state- wide organization and is celebrating its 70th anniversary. In my remarks, I pointed out all the initiatives we have put into place thanks to our Agricultural Committee and stressed the importance of our two industries working together to maximize the benefits of Agri-Tourism. We'll be meeting with Brian Miyamoto, executive director of the Farm Bureau Federation and his staff shortly to follow-up on our mutually beneficial endeavors.
GMM - Saturday Night Performer:
I hope you are as enthusiastic as we are for GMM this weekend at Turtle Bay Resort. Get ready to go back to the big band era, because we are thrilled to announce that we have secured Raiatea Helm to perform a medley of jazz, swing, and Hawaiian classics during Saturday evening’s reception. The timing is perfect as Raiatea is gearing up for her retro tour circa 1940s and beyond at Blue Note Waikiki, just a week after our 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s-themed celebration of our association’s 70th anniversary. This is a very special preview of what’s to come for the six-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner, and I’m confident that you will all be awe-inspired by her performance.
Tourism Security Talk Story Session:
Last Friday HLTA partnered with the Hawaii Hotel & Visitor Security Association (HHVISA) and the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) for a talk story session with Dr. Peter Tarlow, a world-renowned speaker and expert on tourism security. Dr. Tarlow specializes in the areas of crime and terrorism on the tourism industry, event and tourism risk management, and tourism and economic development, and has experience addressing agencies such as the US Center for Disease Control, The International Olympics Committee, The International Organization for Security and Intelligence, and The United Nation’s World Tourism Organization.
I’ve worked closely with Dr. Tarlow since the 1990’s, when I led the charge for the first ever Visitor Crime Solutions Conference as a response to the rash of negative incidents against Japanese tourists at that time. Government officials from Japan went public with their concerns. We could not afford to stand pat and risk being seen as being insensitive to visitor's safety in Hawaii. The conference was a partnership between government and the private sector, and helped to shed light and resolve some of the issues we were having in Waikiki and it went a long way towards assuaging our Japanese visitors that their safety was a high priority for us. We called for a number of improvements and initiatives that required HPD, county government and the visitor industry to collaborate for the good of the industry.
I believe it is high time we had another conference on tourism security in Hawaii, and am already making plans with HHVISA, VASH, Dr. Tarlow, and Waikiki district Councilmember Trevor Ozawa to make this a reality next year. As we all know the world we live in today is very different than it was in the 1990’s, and we must always be proactive when it comes to safety and security.
During his session with HLTA’s board of directors and members of HHVISA, Dr. Tarlow shared thought-provoking perspectives on the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, the hurricanes in the Caribbean, Florida and Texas, and the ever-present threat from North Korea. Dr. Tarlow understands that strong security equals strong tourism, so it is of utmost importance that we continue to stay vigilant on this front. I always tout that Hawaii is one of the safest places in the world, which it is, but we all know that it only takes one major natural disaster or act of terrorism for our visitor statistics to plummet and for tourism in Hawaii to take a negative turn. This is why I believe now is the perfect time to gear up for another Visitor Crime Solutions Conference. Dr. Tarlow was on the same page as I was on this conference, and reiterated that Hawaii not only needs to be prepared for future risks and unforeseen challenges, but should also be a leader for tourism security across all of the Pacific Islands.
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