HLTA Donates $25,000 for Garden Isle Families Hit by Floods
On Wednesday, May 9th I was joined by members of the HLTA Kaua‘i chapter to present Kauai Economic Opportunity, Inc., with a $25,000 donation on behalf of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association and Hawai‘i Hotel Industry Foundation. These funds are being allocated to assist families from the hospitality industry that were affected by the recent devastating floods on Kauai.
I went to visit KEO headquarters in Lihue, and was joined by HLTA Kaua‘i Chair, Jim Braman, as well as Chapter board members Christina Gabriel and Sandi Kato-Klutke. We were met by Mabel Fujiuchi, Chief Executive Officer of KEO, and her team who gratefully accepted the contribution on behalf of the organization.
As many of you already know, HLTA continues to be a leader in the business community in generating funding for worthy causes, and I can’t think of a worthier cause than helping our employees get back on their feet. They range from families with badly-damaged homes to people who’ve lost everything, and we want to help them rebuild their lives. This month we are hosting our annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk in each of the state’s counties, and through these fundraising efforts we are able to help fund deserving causes such as this.
Charity Walk 2018: Celebrating 40 years of Giving
Congratulations to Maui County, Kauai, and Hawaii Island for setting momentous milestones in their Visitor Industry Charity Walks this past weekend! Kauai brought in over $350,000, Hawaii Island raised $305,000, and Maui raised an astonishing $1,357,639. With walks on Molokai and Lanai bringing in $17,000 and $36,000 respectively on May 5th, Maui County raised a total of $1,410,639! It is worth mentioning that these record amounts are also day of counts and we expect that more monies will continue to roll in throughout the next couple weeks! Therefore, our present state-wide grand total is now just over the $2 million mark as we head into the final leg of the 40th Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk here on Oahu on May 19th.
With such wonderful results this weekend I would like to take this moment to thank the Charity Walk Chairs on each island: Christina Gabriel and Chip Bahouth on Kauai, Steve Yannarell and Rob Gunthner on Hawaii Island, and Ryan Nobriga on Maui, your leadership and drive has made reaching these fundraising records a reality. I would also like to thank the Hawaii News Now celebrities that came out to support each of their hometown walks, mahalo to Ashley Nagaoka, Billy V, and Chelsea Davis for being a part of this tradition of giving! Last but not least, I would like to send our gratitude and appreciation to all those that spent tireless hours coordinating the walks and of course to all those that came out and participated, your kokua will help benefit worthy programs and non-profits servicing your communities.
With each of the counties surpassing their fundraising goals for 2018, the pressure is now on Oahu to go over our goal of $500,000! That being said, if you haven’t donated or signed up to walk yet, there’s still time. Please visit www.charitywalkhawaii.org to register or make a donation. For those who need to submit walker forms or monies on Oahu, there will be a pre-registration site open today, May 14th from 1 pm -5 pm and tomorrow, May 15th, 8 am-12 pm at the McCoy Pavilion Dining Hall, located at Ala Moana Beach Park. Charity Walk wrist bands and walker cards will be distributed on-site.
As we head into the final week of the 40th Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk and a record goal of $2.5 million statewide I would like to thank you all for your amazing participation, and encourage your continued support! Statewide Charity Walk Chair Glenn Vergara, HLTA Board Chair Gregg Nelson, Celebrity Chair Rick Blangiardi, and I hope to see you all at Oahu’s walk on Saturday May 19th!
Waikiki Welcomes the ‘Alohilani
Two years ago, the team at the Pacific Beach Hotel shared images of their renovation plans at our HLTA board meeting: and after years of construction, training, and re-branding, we are thrilled to officially welcome the ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach.
I would like to personally extend my congratulations to HLTA members, Kelly Sanders, Cheryl Williams, Rob Robinson, Matthew Grauso, the team at the ‘Alohilani, and Chef Morimoto (Momosan) on their grand opening event this week. It was a pleasure to see many familiar faces from the industry there to support the launch of Highgate’s new, flagship hotel in Waikiki.
As many of you know, we recently held our HLTA Citizen-Scholar Awards luncheon at the hotel’s new Bluefin banquet room, where we got a first-hand experience of their beautifully renovated space. The elegant décor, professional staff, and overall hotel leadership helped us put on our best Citizen-Scholar Awards yet. We commend the team at Highgate on this momentous milestone, and we wish you continued success as the ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach.
Outrigger: Celebrates 70 Years
Now let’s take a moment to recognize another one of our Active members that has much to celebrate this year. Congratulations to Outrigger Hotels & Resorts for their seventy years of service to our industry and community. As a major stakeholder in the hospitality industry, they have exemplified the commitment of showcasing and preserving our island culture and making guests and employees feel like a part of the Outrigger ohana. A special shout out to Kelly Hoen, Area General Manager of Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach and Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, for the feature in Midweek earlier this month. Kelly is an active member of the HLTA Board of Directors, and we wish her and Outrigger Hotel & Resorts many more years of success!
Ladies Leading Lodging
If you happened to see last Wednesday’s MidWeek, you probably recognized another one of our Board Members on the front cover. Julie Arigo, General Manager of the Waikiki Parc Hotel, was one of the four honorees to receive this year’s YWCA O’ahu Leadership recognition. These female leaders have been honored for their diligence in empowering women and their outstanding role in their communities. Congratulations Julie for this special honor. Our industry is fortunate to have both Julie Arigo and Kelly Hoen, both past Chairpersons of HLTA, who are excellent role models for Hawaii’s business women and we thank them for their exceptional example in making our state better.
Last week, we said mahalo and aloha to a partner turned friend, Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth J. Phillips as he transitions back to the mainland. We began working with the Lieutenant Colonel at the Visitor Public Safety Conference that we hosted in late February, and have been grateful for his collaborative efforts in our subsequent follow-up meetings. I have discussed a range of public safety concerns with him, and his open communication style has been a welcome presence in our conference room. Lieutenant Colonel Phillips has been a valuable asset to us in our follow up meetings regarding cabaret licenses in Waikiki. Stakeholders, including property owners and liquor establishments, have been actively taking steps to improve safety in surrounding areas. Our recommendations at this point have included increase in lighting, private funding for removal of low walls, the installment of additional cameras, and extra support for HPD. However, the work is far from over, and as the Lieutenant Colonel moves on to his next assignment, we are pleased to welcome his replacement from the Military Police, Master Sergeant Williams. We look forward to the continued involvement from the military as we build on our current momentum and public safety initiatives.
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