Hawai'i continues to see lower and lower COVID-19 infection rates and noticeable progress in our fight against this public health emergency. It is now more critical than ever that we focus on the details of a recovery plan that will help our local economy rebound from the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 when the green light is given to us by the governor and the mayors.
"Plans in the works to market Hawaii as the ‘safest place in the world’," Honolulu Star-Advertiser, May 1, 2020
There is a prevailing thought that the COVID-19 outbreak is a clear indicator that Hawai'i must begin to diversify its economy away from the tourism industry. I do believe that diversification can be a positive thing for our community. But, seeing as tourism is, and always will be, our core competence, perhaps now is the time to explore what I stated in the 90’s as the State’s DBEDT director that we can diversify within the tourism sector rather than looking outside of it. This is one of the concepts that I shared in recent comments during a discussion panel hosted by Hawaii News Now.
“Every crisis presents an opportunity to see how we can diversify the economy beyond tourism. I’ve been involved in state, local, federal government for many years and I’ve seen all the great ideas and initiatives that have come forth to diversify the economy. And, unfortunately, it always comes back to this one big basket called tourism. Nothing will immediately replace what we have brought to the economy. $17 billion that we contribute. $2 billion in taxes. 250 thousand people employed. So we have to recognize that and try to diversify from within. Our core competence is tourism, so let’s talk about science tourism, educational tourism, health tourism, and cultural tourism.”
Moreover, we know that the attitudes of travelers have changed in the wake of COVID-19. Potential visitors will have new considerations to take into account when they are deciding when and where to travel again. Chief among these will be the level of confidence that a destination can give them when it comes to their health and safety, two things for which Hawai'i has always been known.
"We want to make sure the trust and confidence is going to be there, especially if we are going to start opening our businesses on an incremental basis. So, I have been advocating, and our industry has been responding big time, to the need for all of us to put into place cleanliness and hygiene safety standards so that, when we are going to open, people can be confident- whether they patronize restaurants, small businesses, or come to our hotels, that these will be in place."
As such, HLTA is currently working with industry stakeholders to create new, industry wide practices in regards to hygiene, cleanliness, public safety, and how to respond to a possible public health emergency. I have also encouraged other industry partners to join with us to form a broad coalition of business leaders in Hawai'i who have publicly vowed to put the health and safety of not only visitors, but also our employees and 'ohana, as our top priority.
And this path that lies ahead of us will not be an easy one. In some ways, the obstacles could be greater than what we are facing now as we work to restore the economy. However, by working to first address the most pressing concerns of public health and safety, we can make major strides towards a return to normalcy.
"So let's pull together to reestablish that brand that we've been known for throughout the years. We want to be the cleanest, safest, healthiest place in the world to live, work, play, and raise our families, and we can do it if we work together."
If you didn't get a chance to watch the discussion panel, I encourage you to do so as it covered a wide range of topics and brought out insights from myself as well as other local business leaders. You can see the segment in its entirety here.
Kau Kau Kokua Kits v2.0
Hawai'i Lodging & Tourism Association and Y. Hata are pleased to announce our second Kau Kau Kokua Kits event for Hawai'i'is tourism employees. We will again be offering two different food bundles at low prices.
Pork Cubes for Stew, 1" Butts (5lbs)
Corn, Cut, Sweet Whole Kernel (2.5 lbs)
Broccoli Florets (2lbs)
Ground Beef (5lbs)
Chicken Breast (10lbs)
Chicken Wings, Party, Jumbo (5lbs)
California Blend, Vegetables (2lbs)
Broccoli Florets (2lbs)
*Orders must be placed no later than 11:59 p.m. on May 5.
Distribution will be held at the following locations:
Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk - 9 a.m.-10 a.m.
Residence Inn by Marriott Oahu Kapolei - 1 p.m.-2 p.m.
If you have any questions, please contact our Director of Membership & Special Projects Ashley Yonamine.
In closing, please always feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance in any way.
Have a great weekend,
Stay in the know
Keep up with HLTA through our blog! Let us know what you think in the comment box below each post.