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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
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.
Na Po’e Pa’ahana Awards
Within the next few days, HLTA will be opening the nomination period for the 28th annual Na Po’e Pa’ahana Awards, taking place on January 11, 2018 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa’s Coral Ballroom.
As many of you know, HLTA honors the individuals who have contributed to the visitor industry through their exceptional service, professionalism, and aloha spirit each year at this award ceremony. These are the employees who have continued to make Hawaii a premier destination. Over the past 27 years, there have been three finalists selected in each category among all the submitted nominations, with one overall winner. Of course, I always emphasize that each nominee and finalist is a winner in their own respect as they are specifically chosen among their managers as the best representative of their property.
This year, we are revising the format to ensure that representatives among all hotels are recognized fairly for their outstanding contribution to our industry. Instead of having one overall winner in each category, we will have the three finalists represent the best of the best among small, medium, and large hotels, respectfully. The only hotel categories that remain the same as in years past include Manager of the Year and Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year. As usual, the top recipients of these categories will be submitted to the national Stars of the Industry event.
In addition to the hotel category awards, we will continue to present the individual and company awards including Allied Member of the Year, Restaurateur of the Year, the Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Legacy award, and so on. This event, which we often dub “The Oscars of Hospitality,” is one of our flagship events of the year and certainly not one to miss. Stay tuned for more details on the nominations as well as table and ticket sales. If you have any questions about the Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Awards, feel free to contact Jared of my staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following are the lodging employee categories:
GMM Evening Reception Themes:
Our membership has a history of getting very festive for the GMM evening receptions, so I know everyone is itching to learn more about the themes and suggested attire for this year’s events. On Friday, October 20, we encourage you to pack your jeans, palaka shirts, boots and overalls, and join us “Out on the Farm.” Graze from local food trucks while playing barnyard games and mingling under the stars. On Saturday night, we’re taking you back to the 40’s , 50’s and 60's to celebrate HLTA’s 70th anniversary in the era in which our association was founded. Step off the SS Lurline ocean liner in your vintage aloha wear reminiscent of decades past and join the party as we enjoy each other's company. General Manager Danna Holck and her dedicated staff at Turtle Bay are prepared to make this GMM a memorable experience!
If you haven’t registered for the GMM yet, be sure to sign up here by tomorrow, October 4.
Pacific Beach Hotel’s new name:
The Pacific Beach Hotel, under the leadership of Managing Director Rob Robinson, has officially reopened as the Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach! Congratulations to the Alohilani team, as well as the architects and designers from WATG, Pacific Asia Design Group, and Rockwell Group on a fabulous transformation. In addition to a fresh look, you can also relish in food and libations at the new Lychee Restaurant and O Bar, and will soon be able to enjoy not one- but two Morimoto restaurants within the resort. To view the updates, visit www.alohilaniresort.com.
Congratulations to all the HLTA members who were selected as finalists and winners for the Pacific Business News 2017 Pineapple Awards last week! We're all in this together and you make us proud...
Career Achievement Honoree
Jerry Gibson, Area Vice President, Hilton Worldwide
Leaders in Hospitality Management
Kelly Sanders, Area General Manager, Marriott Hotels and Resorts Waikiki – Winner
Angela Nolan, Area Managing Director, Hawaii, Vistana Signature Experiences – Finalist
Lynette Eastman, General Manager, The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club – Finalist
Craig Anderson, Vice President, Mauna Kea Resort – Finalist
Large Hotel of the Year
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort - Winner
The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort - Finalist
Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas – Finalist
Boutique Hotel of the Year
The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club - Winner
Hanalei Colony Resort - Finalist
Waimea Plantation Cottages – Finalist
Festival or Event of the Year
Hawaii Food and Wine Festival - Finalist
Hawaii for Hawaii – Finalist
HLTA officially culminated the 39th annual Charity Walk with the Oahu Grant Distribution Ceremony last Friday, September 22. Representatives from 128 charities gathered at the Ala Moana Hotel’s Hibiscus Room to receive their share of the funds that were distributed that morning. In addition to the ono breakfast, Lynette Eastman, General Manager of The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club and Aqua Waikiki Pearl, and her husband Bullah Eastman, Senior Director of Safety & Security at Aqua-Aston Hospitality, did a wonderful job of emceeing the event.
Several first-time participants made their mark as top fundraisers this year, including Youth for Christ USA and Hui O Momilani PTSO. Second year participant Honolulu Community Action Program (HCAP) also made the ranks as one of the top fundraisers by a non-profit organization. As we stated at last year’s Charity Walk, we emphasized to the Oahu non-profit organizations that they would first be awarded the monies that they fundraised as a group, and could earn extra funds through their grant application, scope of work, and participation with the event through walkers and volunteers as determined by a grants committee consisting of members from the hospitality industry.
As we have touted before, the 39th annual Charity Walk was another record-breaking year, raising $2.27 million for 363 charities across the state. Since its inception, the Charity Walk has raised over $32 million. This year we introduced an online crowdfunding platform, and look forward to topping this year’s record yet again next year as we bring in the 40th annual Charity Walk.
View photos from the Oahu Charity Walk Grant Distribution Ceremony on the HLTA blog here.
General Membership Meeting:
Mahalo to all of you who have registered for the 190th General Membership Meeting and reserved your rooms at Turtle Bay Resort. If you have not made your room reservations, Turtle Bay Resort has officially SOLD OUT of rooms. We recommend you book at the Courtyard by Marriott Oahu North Shore in Laie.
There is still time to register for the GMM before the price increases to the late registration fee of $375. Events included in the GMM comprise of a Turtle Bay Resort tour on Thursday leading into a light welcome reception, a mini trade show on Friday showcasing our sponsors, a Friday evening get-together featuring an agricultural theme highlighting local food trucks, the all-important business session where we will be inducting our 2017-2018 officers and board of directors along with having an expert panel discussion on tourism sustainability, and a dinner on Saturday evening taking you back on a journey over the past 7 decades as we celebrate HLTA's 70th anniversary. Add-on events include the Friday Lunch & Learn that will spotlight a government panel on how the hospitality industry can develop a stronger voice and presence in government and the community, a special tour of the Polynesian Cultural Center on Saturday, and a golf scramble at Turtle Bay Resort's Fazio Course. Register for the GMM here.
I convened a meeting with several HLTA board members recently in an attempt to solidify our position on issues that we anticipate would be problematic for our industry and will command significant attention at the upcoming legislative session. Topics included the Transient Vacation Rentals, Airport Commission, Transient Accommodation Taxes, and the 2018 elections. Stay tuned for more details.
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