Congratulations to Cheryl Williams, general manager of The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Resort Collection, and Michael Wilding, general manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Alana – Waikiki Beach for being selected as this year’s HLTA Aloha United Way Fall Campaign co-chairs. The AUW Fall campaign brings various sectors of our community together to help raise funds for Hawaii’s non-profit organizations. Last year, Kelly Hoen and Teri Orton spearheaded the efforts among the lodging and tourism industry in Waikiki, bringing over $300,000. With Williams and Wilding at the helm this year, I’m positive we will continue to make a substantial difference in our local community. To join the movement, you can visit www.auw.org.
As a reminder, the nomination period for the aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards ends this Thursday, August 31, 2017. To all our members statewide, we encourage you to submit a nomination for this new awards program. The finalists will be honored at an awards gala on November 16 at the Hawaii Convention Center, and while the selection committee will determine the awardees, we would love to see a stage full of HLTA members that evening. With 16 award categories, the awards program recognizes various facets of our industry, from accommodations and restaurants, to events, individuals, tourism destinations, and more. Visit www.hawaiimagazine.com/hlta to view the full list of award categories and submit nominations.
As an update to the special session, the Senate Ways and Means committee launched the legislative special session with a public hearing on measure SB4, the bill determining the funding mechanism for Honolulu’s rail system on Monday afternoon by calling for the TAT to be increased by 1% for 13 years to help pay for the rail system.
After 5 hours of testimonies and deliberations, the Ways and Means committee ended the evening with a narrow 6-5 vote to pass the measure un-amended with Senators Kahele, Harimoto, Inouye, English and Riviere voting against the TAT funding for rail.
I’ve stressed the importance of our testimonies and presence at the hearings as they are necessary if we are to continue our push for no TAT increases. I am pleased to report that we have had an impressive turn out from our membership and our testimonies were very strong. Many Capitol observers remarked that they have never seen the hospitality industry turn out in such big numbers. And thanks to many of our members efforts, we submitted the names of nearly 2,000 of our hard-working associates.
I would like to thank the HLTA members who took time out of their busy day to come to the Capitol auditorium to join me in testifying at the public hearing on Monday. They were Scott Ingwers, Gregg Nelson, Ed Case, Kelly Hoen, Barbara Campbell, Rick Egged, Simeon Miranda, Charles Young, Dean Nakasone, Robin Graf, Lisa Paulson, Maui Council Chair Mike White, and Stephanie Donaho of the Kohala Coast Resort Association. Mahalo to David Wong and Max Sword as well for attending. Special recognition to Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and Hawai‘i Island Mayor Harry Kim who in their testimony opposed the use of the TAT and Hawai'i Island Council Chair Valerie Poindexter who lent support by her presence.
I would also like to acknowledge the Waikiki Resort Hotel, Aqua-Aston Hospitality, The Imperial Hawaii Resort, and Castle Hotels and Resorts for taking the time to submit written testimony.
SB4 will head to the Senate floor for a final third reading vote today. If passed by a majority vote in the Senate chamber, the measure will cross over to the House of Representatives for its deliberations.
The House Finance and Transportation committees have scheduled a joint committee hearing for today, August 30, 2017 at 1:30 pm in the Capitol Auditorium. Again, I ask all of you that can to send in testimonies here to the hearing and if you or your associates can attend to testify in person to please do so. Please click here for the Finance/Transportation Hearing Notice.
Stay in the know
Keep up with HLTA through our blog! Let us know what you think in the comment box below each post.