HLTA Sex Trafficking Plan
The Hawai'i Lodging & Tourism Assocation recognizes that the lodging industry can play an outsize role in disrupting the scourge that is human trafficking. As such, we have put together a disruption plan and will continue to work with our elected officials and community partners to address this issue. To read our plan in its entirety, please click here.
HLTA Staff Announcements
I am pleased to announce that I have tapped Jason Paloma to be HLTA's new Senior Director of Operations. Jason will take over the responsibilities formerly handled by Edgar Palafox, who left our organization to spend more time with his wife and twin daughters.
Jason comes to HLTA from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs where he served as lead grants specialist. Prior to that, he spent 20 years with HMSA in a variety of senior roles. He is a former Pacific Century Fellow and a current member of the Hawai'i Sports Hall of Fame's executive advisory board. Jason will oversee our day-to-day office operations and help organize our numerous community engagement programs around the state.
I am also proud to announce that I have promoted Jared Higashi from Senior Director to Vice President of Government and Community Affairs. Over the past five years, Jared has been invaluable in helping me to forward HLTA's advocacy efforts. He will retain his government affairs duties and will also lead key events such as the Visitor Industry Charity Walk, Na Po'e Pa'ahana awards, and the Visitor Public Safety Conference.
Lei Day at the Capitol
On Tuesday morning, HLTA held its annual Lei Day at the Capitol event. Each year, before the governor delivers the State of the State address, HLTA staff and members descend on the halls of the Hawaii State Capitol to deliver lei and our legislative packet and wish our state legislators all the best for a successful session.
We had a great turnout of both allied and lodging members who joined us for the morning. Mahalo to all of our members who were able to make it!
I'd like to also send a special shoutout to Sukit Kanaprach and The Orchid Lei Company who donated all of the beautiful lei that we handed out on Tuesday. The Orchid Lei Company has always been a strong supporter of HLTA and has supplied us with the most amazing lei many a time. Mahalo Sukit!
Lastly, mark your calendars for February 21st as we bring our hospitality and aloha spirit to the big square building again at our annual Tourism Day at the Capitol.
Royal Hawaiian Center 40th Anniversary
Congratulations to The Royal Hawaiian Center which held its VIP Kick Off Party in recognition of the center's 40th anniversary.
Government Affairs Talk Story
The New Year is in full swing and we are off and running. Over the past week, HLTA put on three events that I'd like to share with you.
On Tuesday, we held a Government Affairs talk story event at the Prince Waikiki where industry stakeholders took advantage of the opportunity to meet with State legislators and learn more about their priorities for this year's Legislative Session. A variety of issues were raised and discussed, such as TVRs , the much needed repairs at the airport, homelessness, transient accommodations tax, crime and state/county duplication of services.
Mahalo to the following legislators who participated in our talk story event:
Senate President Ron Kouchi
Senator Kurt Fevella
House Tourism Chair Richard H. K Onishi
Rpresenative John H. Mizuno
Representative Scot Z. Matayoshi
Representative Val Okimoto
A final mahalo to the Prince Waikiki for hosting us!
Charity Walk Kick-Off
On Thursday, HLTA held its annual Charity Walk Kick Off Breakfast at the 'Alohilani Resort. The event was highlighted by a $5,000 donation from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation for this year's Visitor Industry Charity Walk. New ideas and initiatives were introduced to bolster fundraising and participation efforts for 2020!
This Saturday, The Polynesian Bowl, a high school all-star game, will be held at Aloha Stadium for the fourth year and will feature the next generation of Polynesian football stars. This morning, we held an event at James Campbell High School that featured Polynesian stars of the past like four-time Super Bowl champion Jesse Sapolu and two-time Pro Bowl selection Vai Sikahema along with college standouts AJ Epenesa and Ewa Beach native Tua Tagovailoa and Polynesian Football Hall of Fame inductee David Dixon.
The students were treated to speeches from each of the athletes and had a great time with more than a few "Roll Tide" calls coming from the audience. Special shoutout to JCHS Principal Jon Henry Lee and Vice Principal Shayne Greenland for making today a reality. A similar event was also held at Kaimuki High School, thanks to the support of Principal Jamie Dela Cruz and Bulldog Football Coach David Tautofi. That assembly featured former Denver Broncos star Ma’a Tanuvasa, PFHOF inductees Haloti Ngata and Dominic Raiola, and Outland Trophy Winner Penei Sewell.
Yesterday, the House and Senate presented a joint legislative proclamation to PFHOF board members Jesse Sapolu, Ma’a Tanuvasa, and Vai Sikahema. Accompanying them to the State Capitol were HTA’s Chris Tatum and yours truly representing HLTA.
30th Annual Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards
Yesterday, HLTA held its 30th Annual Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards luncheon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village's Coral Ballroom. HLTA Chair Mike Jokovich and I had a wonderful afternoon meeting all of our nominees, finalists, and our awardees. As always, the stories that arise during Na Po'e are heart warming and at times incredible! As we close the books on this event each year, I get to reflect on not only the rich diversity of our industry's workforce, but also the quality of the people who comprise it. They are all, truly, no ka oi.
2020 Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year
Kirk Togashi – Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa
2020 Manager of the Year
Claire Butler - Hilton Hawaiian Village
Bell & Valet: Large Property
Dayle Ho'opai - Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
Bell & Valet: Medium Property
Peter Nonales - OHANA Waikiki Malia By Outrigger
Bell & Valet: Small Property
Ted Tuttle - Wyndham Vacation Resorts Royal Garden at Waikiki
Engineer & Maintenance: Large Property
Mundy Gillcoat - The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas
Engineer & Maintenance: Medium Property
Lee Ridley - Marriott's Waiohai Beach Club
Engineer & Maintenance: Small Property
Kyle "Kalani" Tihada - Napili Kai Beach Resort
Food & Beverage: Large Property
Imelda "Amie" Tungpalan - Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel
Food & Beverage: Medium Property
Gemsley Balagso - The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas Resort
Front Office: Large Property
Giadee Kaiwi - The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
Front Office: Medium Property
Manuel Nicolas - OHANA Waikiki Malia by Outrigger
Front Office: Small Property
Charles Ursua - Wyndham at Waikiki Beach Walk
Housekeeper: Large Property
Flordeliza Leo - Hilton Hawaiian Village
Housekeeper: Medium Property
Erlinda Aranca - The Kahala Hotel & Resort
Housekeeper: Small Property
Laurie Manatay - Aston Islander on the Beach
Security Officer: Large Property
Eric Capllonch - Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
Security Officer: Medium Property
Andrew Materne - The Ritz Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach
Security Officer: Small Property
Joseph Pascua - Lawai Beach Resort
Allied Member of the Year
Individual Allied Member of the Year
Lester Kodama - Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Chef/Restaurateur of the Year
Tylun Pang - The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui
Hospitality Educator of the Year
Vice Principal Kenneth Acgaoili - Kaimuki High School
Leader in Sustainability
Prince Resorts Hawaii
Women in Lodging & Tourism: Woman of the Year
Hao Dang Tanacsos - HAOSkeeping, Inc.
Excellence in Community Service
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
Debbie Nakanelua-Richards - Hawaiian Airlines
2020 Na Po'e Pa'ahana Legacy Award
The Polynesian Cultural Center
A big mahalo to our co--hosts Tannya Joaquin, left, and Brigette Namata, both of whom hail from KHON and did a wonderful job as emcees of the event.
On January 14, HLTA will be hosting its first government affairs event of the year, a talk story session with state legislators. We will be meeting with legislators from both chambers, including Senate President Ron Kouchi, Senate Tourism Chair Glenn Wakai, Senate Transportation Chair Lorraine Inouye, and Senator Kurt Fevella. From the House of Representatives, we will be joined by Vice Speaker Mark Nakashima, Tourism Chair Richard Onishi, Representative Scot Matayoshi, Representative John Mizuno and Representative Val Okimoto .
While we have enjoyed several key legislative victories in recent memory (TVRs, CONAM, Real Property Tax Rate carve outs or bed & breakfast properties), we must not become complacent. There are a number of key issues that are looking over the entire tourism industry and we must do our best to make our case to our legislators. This meeting will be a key first step in connecting with them this year and learning more about their priorities for the upcoming legislative session.
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