Each year, through our Na Po’e Pa’ahana Awards, the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association honors the individuals who have contributed to the visitor industry through their stellar service, professionalism, and spirit of Aloha. These are the employees who continue to make Hawaii a premier destination. Our visitor industry relies on their dedication, and commitment to their workplace and community!
As a friendly reminder, nominations for the 29th Annual Na Po’e Pa’ahana Awards are officially due today at 11:59 pm. If you or your team members have not yet submitted your applications please do so HERE.
Na Po’e Pa’ahana nominees and finalists will be recognized at our annual luncheon on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at the Sheraton Waikiki.
General Election on November 6th – Go Out and Vote!
As of October 23rd registered voters have been able to visit early walk-in voting locations within their respective counties to cast their ballots for the General Election. Early voting will close tomorrow – Saturday, November 3rd as our state prepares for Election Day on November 6th. This is a wonderful opportunity to ensure that you as a voter take advantage of your right and responsibility to vote. For those of you who have been following HLTA’s road to the Elections, I would like to take a moment to remind you of who our visitor industry endorsed candidates are:
For those who reside on Maui, I would like to encourage you to pay close attention to the charter amendments that will show up on your ballot. One amendment in particular will increase the penalty for operating an illegal transient vacation rental from $1,000 to $20,000, I urge you to vote yes. This will greatly aid the Maui County Planning Department in their enforcement of illegal transient vacation rentals.
As we near the 2018 General Elections, I implore you to help us change the stigma that Hawai‘i residents simply don’t vote. This is your chance to elect those to office who will champion your community, your business, and your way of life.
Waipahu High School: Aiming to be the first nationally accreditedCulinary and Tourism academy in the State.
For many years I have been a big supporter of Waipahu High School principal, Keith Hayashi, who has been a leader in the realm of education in the State of Hawai’i. Over the years, Keith and his team have successfully shaped Waipahu High School into a model educational institution. They offer “academic pathways” to all freshmen that enroll giving them the opportunity to explore, in-depth, career driven academies, two of which have received the highest honors of national accreditation. Keith and his team at Waipahu High School, the pioneers of early college programming in Hawai‘i, have been working closely with HLTA to establish the state’s first nationally accredited Culinary and Tourism Academy by 2020.
In pursuit of this goal I convened a meeting this week between industry stakeholders and key faculty members of Waipahu High School. In attendance from the industry were HLTA Chairperson Glenn Vergara from the Waikiki Resort Hotel, Gary Manago from the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel, Dylan Ching and Kelii Gouveia from Duke’s Restaurants, and Waipahu alumnus Rick Egged from the Waikiki Improvement Association. During the meeting we discussed the opportunity to improve upon the transition of students into the workforce by pairing businesses that offer high school internships with the academy. Additionally, we also explored the idea of inciting interest with our hotels and restaurants to offer externships for teachers and faculty members. As we progress forward with creating this nationally recognized academy, we will convene a follow-up meeting by years end to engage our Ko Olina and Kapolei lodging members as well as they share a close proximity to the high school. The goal will be to create standards and expectations between both our members and Waipahu high school in this new collaboration. If you or your company is interested in participating with this new initiative please feel free to contact the HLTA office at (808) 923-0407 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Tourism 101: Waikiki – past, present, and future
This past Wednesday, Rick Egged President of the Waikiki Improvement Association, joined me for our third episode of Tourism 101. For those of you who may not be familiar with our new show Tourism 101, it is a 30-minute segment produced by ThinkTech Hawai‘i and hosted by yours truly, which showcases topics and speakers directly related to Hawai‘i’s visitor industry. This week Rick and I talked about the many initiatives and activities that both our organizations collaborate on in Waikiki.
To view the full episode click HERE.
A Visit from Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows
Each year the East-West Center’s Pacific Islands Development Program brings a contingent of Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows to spend 5- weeks in Honolulu with the goal of building relationships between industry leaders across the Pacific. This week, three members of the current class sought a meeting with me to discuss the role of the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association and to learn more about Hawai‘i’s hospitality industry. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hosting Iulai Lesa, Senior Sales and Marketing Officer for the Samoa Tourism Authority, Sheena Ng Lam, Principal Training & Education Officer for the Samoa Tourism Authority, and Christine Peipul, Executive Manager of the Papua New Guinea Tourism Industry Association, at our office. During our meeting I shared insights on what makes our industry tick and how they can utilize similar tools in their own respective countries. Later today, I will be meeting with the entire Pacific Islands Tourism Professional Fellows group to further expand on these points of discussion.
Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Relief Drive
Last week, the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, primarily Saipan and Tinian, was devastated by Super Typhoon Yutu. With maximum sustained winds of 180 mph, this super typhoon had the equivalent power to that of a Category 5 Hurricane, making it the strongest storm to hit any part of the U.S. this year. The result: the islands were pummeled affecting over 50,000 people who were first hand witnesses to the storm's destruction. Yesterday, I put out a call to action to the HLTA membership on Oahu, in support of the Northern Marianas Club of Hawaii. They are collecting goods and supplies to send to our brothers and sisters in the Northern Marianas. The Aloha 4 CNMI Operation Yutu Relief Campaign will be holding a donation drive at the Safeway grocery store located at 1360 Pali Hwy in Honolulu from November 16 -18. For full details please refer to the email blast that was sent HERE.
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