Lei Day at the Capitol
Mahalo to all those who came out and joined us at our annual Lei Day at the Capitol event this past Tuesday. It was a morning filled with advocacy and networking as we walked the halls of the State Capitol wishing our elected officials a productive and successful legislative session. A special shout-out to Sukit Kanaprach and The Orchid Lei Company for sponsoring all the beautiful lei that we presented to our State Representatives, Senators, Lieutenant Governor, and Governor.
Upon an early morning arrival, our group split into three teams, to ensure we could greet each of the legislators with lei to wear during the Governor’s State of the State Address. We also handed out HLTA’s government affairs position statements (found on our website here) as well as a save the date card for our fourth annual Tourism Day at the Capitol event, which will take place on February 20th. We hope many of you will join us for this popular event, which often turns out a fair number of political leaders and allows us an avenue to share more of what we as an industry are doing to help support the economy and the community. This one promises to be another great event! If you want to learn more about participating or would like to have a booth in our mini trade show, please feel free to contact Jared at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Honolulu City Council's Planning Committee Hears TVR Bills
Following our annual Lei Day at the Capitol event, I headed over to Honolulu Hale to testify on the seven transient vacation rental measures being heard before the Honolulu City Council’s Planning Committee. In a room packed with advocates, mostly in support of the enforcement of illegal TVR’s, I offered comments on the measures before our Honolulu Councilmembers.
I stressed a couple of major points:
1- There are currently no perfect bills before the Council that addresses all our concerns satisfactorily but action is needed now more than ever. It is clear where we stand on the issue of illegal transient vacation rentals - we as an industry would like to see transparency, accountability, fairness, and enforcement with substantial fines and penalties. Most importantly, I reiterated a point that I have shared for some time now: this is not simply a hotel industry versus TVR issue, it is TVR’s versus the community which has exacerbated the affordable housing challenges we face daily; and
2- Key members of the legislature are looking for the enforcement piece driven by the counties prior to fully committing to TVR legislation at the state level. With the House and Senate in disagreement on a compromise measure for 3 years now, it is time for Oahu to step up to the plate and join the neighbor islands in establishing rules, regulations, and enforcement on transient vacation rentals.
The planning committee will convene again in February to continue its deliberations on this very important issue. In the meantime, for those of who reside on Oahu, please don’t hesitate to urge your councilmember representing your district to stop kicking the can down the road on this issue and take action while the Legislature is in session.
Women in Lodging Honors Woman of the Year, Laura Richards
Congratulations to our Women in Lodging & Tourism Committee for a successful event honoring 2019 Woman of the Year, Laura Richards, General Manager of the Hanalei Colony Resort on Kaua’i. The networking event was held at the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach on Wednesday evening where many supporters from across the state came to congratulate Laura on receiving this prestigious award.
Once again, I’d like to commend Laura for exemplifying the qualities of a true leader in her hotel and her community. We wish her, and everyone at the Hanalei Colony Resort, a prosperous 2019. Also in attendance were past Woman of the Year recipients, Lynette Eastman, General Manager for The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club and Barbara Campbell, Vice President of Retail Leasing & Property Management of Outrigger Enterprises Group.
I’d also like to commend our new WIL Committee for executing a wonderful first networking event of the year. I’m looking forward to supporting our new (and returning) WIL Chairperson, Julie Arigo, General Manager of Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani will spur the committee to new heights this year. Thank you to everyone who came out to support WIL!
2019 Charity Walk Kicks Off
I would like to extend a special mahalo to all those who joined us at Pomaikai Ballrooms for our Charity Walk Kick-off Recruiter Breakfast yesterday! It was wonderful to see so many eager recruiters gathered to begin our Charity Walk efforts. It is truly inspiring to see so many motivated community members ready to fundraise for this year’s walk.
Our dynamic emcee duo, Bulla and Lynette Eastman of Aqua-Aston Hospitality, did an great job in engaging our attendees and informing them of our Charity Walk updates. As they turned the microphone over to yours truly, I took the opportunity to discuss two upcoming initiatives. The first was to unveil our partnership with The Wounded Warrior Project Hawai‘i – who will be coordinating a 1K slippah walk with my staff for the morning of Charity Walk. This additional walk is intended to raise funds for a deserving cause, as well as break a Guinness World Record – and have some fun in the process. Secondly, I announced our Second Annual Charity Walk Bowling Tournament, headed by our partners at Salem Media , will be held on April 12th at Aiea Bowl.
My staff also presented on the latest improvements we are implementing for Charity Walk this year. Director of Fiscal Services Jessica Caires reviewed our paper registration process, as well as explained our new deposit protocol, which will allow anyone to make their donation deposits directly to Charity Walk via any First Hawaiian Bank branch. Director of Membership and Communications Ashley Yonamine presented on the latest features of our crowdfunding platform, MobileCause. Should you have any questions about either of these topics, please feel free to contact them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. For any other questions concerning Charity Walk, please contact chief Charity Walk coordinator and Senior Director of Government and Community Affairs Jared Higashi of my staff at email@example.com.
I would also like to thank our Association Chairperson, Glenn Vergara, Senate Energy, Economic Development and Tourism Chair Senator Glenn Wakai, and House Tourism and International Affairs Vice-Chair Representative Daniel Holt for taking time out of their busy mornings to address and encourage our Charity Walk Recruiters. If you were unable to join us, not to worry. Please contact my staff – we will be happy to address questions and provide you with any Charity Walk collateral you may need.
Congratulations to the Hilton Waikiki Beach for winning our 2018 Charity Walk T-shirt contest. They held an in-house T-shirt design contest, and design winner Mary Jane Pagaragan was on hand to receive the award, as well as General Manager Henry Perez. We look forward to seeing what you come up with for 2019!
Finally, I would like to extend a Big Mahalo to Enterprise Holdings: Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Alamo Rent a Car, and National Car Rental, who kick-started our Charity Walk fundraising campaign again with a $10,000 donation, to be distributed amongst the four counties. On hand to present the check this year were Joslyn Bantilan and Rhea Aquiningoc of Enterprise Holdings. Enterprise never fails to support our signature events, including the Citizen-Scholar Awards, the Scholarship Golf Tournament, and our General Membership Meeting: but this annual gift has become their own tradition, and we are deeply grateful. Mahalo to HLTA Board Member Chris Sbarbaro, Vice President of Sales & Marketing - Hawaii at Enterprise Holdings Inc. and his team for their staunch support of Charity Walk!
Call for Volunteers - Waipahu High School
Over the last few years, I have been working with Keith Hayashi, Principal of Waipahu High School, to establish the first nationally-accredited tourism and culinary arts academy in the state. We are currently working on bringing internships and externships to Waipahu students and faculty which will help them achieve vital requirements for national recognition.
Next week Thursday (January 31st) I will be bringing a cohort of hospitality and culinary executives to Waipahu High School at 2:00 p.m. to share our mana’o and experiences with key teachers and staff on the importance of our industry and the emphasis that we place on workforce development. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who may be interested in participating to contact Edgar Palafox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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