We are just a few days removed from Governor Ige's announcement that trans-Pacific travel will be restored on August 1. Properties around the state are currently weighing the various pros and cons of reopening in just over a month. Others are hurrying to prepare their properties and train their staffs for the new normal.
On the HLTA front, I have been as active as possible in the media sharing the precautions that our industry is taking to protect visitors and our brothers and sisters who comprise our local workforce. Please see the links below.
"Will Hawaii’s new reopening plan be enough to lure back wary tourists?," Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2020
"Hotel industry gears up for lift of trans-Pacific travel restrictions," KHON2, June 25, 2020
"Officials say marketing Hawaii to tourists will probably be different," KHON2, June 25, 2020
"Testing ramps up, but reopening Hawaii still proves challenging," KITV4, June 27, 2020
Commercial Rent Survey
Island Business Management, LLC is conducting a survey to analyze the effects that COVID-19 has had on commercial rental properties. For more details, please see the letter from IBM Hawai'i President Ryan Tanaka which I have reproduced below.
Please continue to watch over yourself, your 'ohana, and your staff. If I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.
Gov. Ige Announcement
Aloha,This afternoon, Governor David Ige officially announced that, beginning on August 1, travelers who have been tested and confirmed negative for COVID-19 will be allowed to travel to Hawai'i without being subjected to the mandatory 14-day quarantine which will remain in effect for the time being.
The following press release was issued by HLTA immediately following Gov. Ige's press conference:
HLTA President & CEO Mufi Hannemann
I have continually pushed for our local leaders to provide us with a clear timetable for reopening that would allow local hotel operations to put necessary plans into place to protect both our visitors and our local hospitality workers. To say that I am pleased that Gov. Ige has finally provided this to us would be an understatement. As we are all aware, this is just the beginning of our recovery. The hard work begins now. We have a difficult road ahead, but I am certain that we can navigate this time of recovery if we continue to work together.
If you have any questions about today's announcement, please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff at any time.
Senator Breene Harimoto
Last night, Hawai‘i lost one of its hardest working and most compassionate servant leaders in Senator Breene Harimoto, who I have known and worked with as a City Councilman for more than 25 years. As a man of faith, my friend Breene epitomized what it means to live a life of service in one’s community. His door was always open, and I will treasure our conversations on how to make our community a better place.
My deepest condolences and prayers to Cheryl and the Harimoto ‘ohana during this difficult time.
It is worth noting that Senator Harimoto was among our industry's most ardent champions at the Legislature. When the GET and TAT were being discussed, he differed from the majority of his colleagues by voting against using the TAT as a funding mechanism for rail.
The Honolulu City Council is currently considering Bill 44 (2020), CD1 which will increase nonresident entrance fees and parking fees as well as establish an entrance fee for licensed motor carriers at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. Reviewing this bill reminded me of the work that my colleagues and I on the City Council did back in the 90's to establish the regulations needed to effectively manage the impact that tourism was having on a treasured natural resource like Hanauma Bay.
It also serves as an example as we start re-opening our doors safely to travelers that branding Hawai'i as a sustainable and resilient place to visit is the type of thing that we need to engage in on behalf of our residents and visitors.
By the late 1980's Hanauma Bay was on the brink of ecological disaster. The park averaged roughly 3 million visitors per year and the stress being placed on the coral reefs and resident wildlife was immense. Drastic changes were necessary and there was no shortage of ideas.
Then-Mayor Jeremy Harris initially proposed limiting access to the bay by instituting an entry fee for all park users. While this seemed like a step in the right direction, I personally felt that the Council had an opportunity to not only save the bay but also protect it for the next generation as well. In addition to an entry fee for nonresidents, I proposed the following:
These policies were enacted in 1995 and have made it possible for the bay to enjoy relatively stable health for the past 25 years. However, it is imperative that City officials keep close watch over this resource. Lax oversight and complacency have allowed sections of the park's facilities to fall into disrepair in the past and have left park users where, exactly, their fees are being applied. By keeping the reserve, the education center, and all park facilities in excellent working order, we can continue to share this amazing natural resource with visitors and residents alike.
Honolulu Live Music Ban
Earlier this week, Mayor Caldwell announced that, pursuant to Emergency Order No. 2020-15, live music would be banned at indoor restaurants and bars for the time being. Earlier today, I issued a statement urging the mayor to reconsider this action.
My statement noted that Honolulu has such a variety of eating and drinking establishments that could be safely utilized by performers that it would be unwise to issue a blanket ban on this facet of our industry. Many of Hawai'i's regular performers rely on regular gigs as their main source of income. They have already been hurt by the COVID-19 epidemic and continuing to make it difficult for them to earn a living is unnecessary.
HLTA Member Scholarships
Mufi is pictured above with 2019 HLTA Member Scholarship Active Member Recipient Abigail Yagi. Abigail's mother, Pam, is the general manager of Hilton Grand Vacations Club
The Hawai'i Lodging & Tourism Association and the Hawai'i Hotel Industry Foundation are pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications for the HLTA Member Scholarship. As we have in years past, we will be awarding two $2,500 scholarships this year- one to the child of an Allied Member and one to the child of a ActiveMember.
This scholarship is open to the children of HLTA members who graduated from high school in 2020 and have been accepted to a university, college, vocational, or technical school.
The application can be downloaded at this link and is due no later than Friday, July 10 at 5:00 p.m.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call the HLTA offices at (808) 923-0407 at any time. Applications can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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