Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards:
As many of you know, HLTA’s Na Po‘e Pa‘ahana Awards is one of our association’s most anticipated events of the year. This is the time of year we honor the individuals who have contributed to the visitor industry through their exceptional service, professionalism, and aloha spirit, and continue to make Hawaii a premier destination.
Everyone who is nominated for this event is the cream of the crop, and to narrow down the best of the best to just one person per category is always an extremely tough decision for our esteemed judging committee. Excellence is illustrated in many ways, and we certainly see this through the incredible stories that are shared through this event. That’s why this year HLTA will be introducing a new component to the Na Po'e Pa'ahana Awards by recognizing finalists in groups of small, medium, and large-size properties in the following categories:
Island Air Job Fair:
Mahalo to our fantastic members who will be contributing their time this Thursday for a job fair supporting Island Air’s former employees. We are one ohana and are all in this together so when a member of our industry needs assistance, we should be there to render our kokua.
The job fair will take place at Daniel K. Inouye Airport’s Interisland Conference Center from 10am- 3pm. Please contact Dean at email@example.com if you have any questions. Kudos again to the following companies for making HLTA's participation at the job fair possible:
We hope you can join us on Wednesday, December 6, 2017 between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. for our annual Kettle Bell Ringing in support of Salvation Army. This year HLTA is partnering with the Waikiki Improvement Association and Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau for this fun service project. There will be 6 locations set up in Waikiki this year for volunteers to join in on the fun and “ring” in the holidays: Waikiki Shopping Plaza/Waikiki Business Plaza, Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort and Spa, Outrigger Waikiki Beach, Waikiki Beach Walk, and Waikiki Bank of Hawaii. Please contact Alex Roth of my staff at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a shift and learn more.
Last week Friday, the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association convened a government affairs meeting with members from the HLTA Board of Directors, Government Affairs Committee, and industry stakeholders in attendance. The meeting covered two very important issues on HLTA’s government affairs agenda: the Airport Corporation and transient vacation rentals and also touched on our upcoming plans to deal with the increasing level of crimes against tourists. What was originally a small working group focused on the issue of transient vacation rentals has now evolved into a larger group of industry stakeholders collaborating and sharing insights on the issues at hand.
Regarding the Airport Corporation bill, this measure has been a top priority of HLTA for the past two years and it will be carried over once again into the upcoming session in January. During the legislative interim, the Airlines Committee of Hawai‘i has continue to work on addressing previous concerns raised by the Attorney General’s office as well as the unions. We will continue to advocate for the passage of this bill with the goal of passing it out early in the legislative session thereby proving that the third time is indeed the charm. On a similar note, the outgoing Director of Transportation, Ford Fuchigami, recently briefed our members on the Airport Corporation and had DOT deputy director, Ross Higashi, give us a tour of the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. We can expect Fuchigami will continue to strongly back the proposal in his new responsibilities in the governor’s office, which is good news for us!
The transient vacation rental issue has been top of mind for a few years now as it is a major priority for HLTA and the visitor industry as a whole. Through the discussions that ensued on Friday we were able to share insights with one another on the latest on the draft memorandum of agreement between Airbnb and the State's Tax Department, bring everyone up-to-date on the issue of enforcement and permitting on the county fronts, discuss the Airbnb legislation that was recently passed in San Francisco, and strategize a unified approach for the next legislative session. In related news the City has established a working group to address the issue from the City & County of Honolulu's perspective in which HLTA has submitted officials to represent the visitor industry. This group will convene its work next week. Likewise, we will continue to hold our government affairs meetings on a regular basis and encourage your participation and involvement.
To reinforce our efforts, let me allude to the panel discussions at our General Membership Meeting held last month at the Turtle Bay Resort, where past and present government leaders emphasized the importance of leadership and collaboration in our advocacy efforts. It was stated that if we do not stand with a unified front and strong voice in the democratic process, then it will be extremely difficult to withstand or overcome the “assaults” and "threats " to the viability of the hospitality industry. That being said, HLTA will continue to ramp up our advocacy efforts at all levels of government, especially with the election year coming up in 2018.
Future of Existing Buildings:
Last Thursday I moderated a panel discussion for The Future of Existing Buildings event hosted by Chelsea Group, a building science consulting firm for commercial and institutional real estate. The whole session was done in collaboration with our Engineering Council. This was my second consecutive year moderating this event and I have to say I am continuously impressed by the passion and depth of knowledge from both the speakers and the audience. The panel featured a notable array of industry experts Dave Lee, Director of System Facilities and Biomedical Engineering at The Queen’s Medical Center; Josh Stanbro, Director of Sustainability at the City and County of Honolulu, and Jim Kelly, Vice President for Corporate Communications at Hawaiian Electric Company.
The panelists covered in-depth topics, such as the future challenges to our existing power infrastructure, finding reasonable solutions to mitigate sea water flooding and related problems in our most vulnerable buildings, and the necessary steps to take to ensure we can keep up with the vision of a sustainable Honolulu. It was also an opportunity to underscore the priority that the hospitality industry places on being green and sustainable. The topic of resiliency planning and investing was very pertinent in the day’s discussions. Particularly when it came to the discussion of changing the mindset of decision makers so that they be proactive and invest in upgrading their infrastructure before it causes problems. When I was Mayor I quickly learned that the question was not " if” but “when” when it comes to another natural disaster hitting our shores again. It is vitally important to always take a good hard look at our infrastructure and plan wisely so that we'll be prepared to take the necessary steps to deal with calamities and challenges whenever they may occur.
Island Air Job Fair:
In light of the unfortunate circumstances with Island Air, HLTA will be supporting a job fair on Thursday, November 30, 2017 from 10am – 4pm at the DKI Airport meeting rooms. When these situations occur it's important that we help our family, friends and neighbors get through these difficult times. We are strongly encouraging our member lodging properties and interested allied businesses to participate and support Island Air’s former employees. If you have questions on how your hotel/organization can participate, please contact Dean Nakasone at email@example.com.
I hope you all had a chance to tune in to the very first Tourism Tuesday radio show this morning on AM690 and 94.3 FM The Answer. Mike Buck and I discussed a myriad of topics, including Airbnb, TAT, Crime and Public Safety, DKI Airport, parking in Waikiki, and more. Next week we will have HLTA’s millennials Jared and Alex go on air to share their take on tourism as young professionals working in the hospitality industry, along with some of HLTA’s initiatives to engage the up-and-coming generation. If you would like to ask questions to be answered on air, feel free to contact the Mike Buck show on Facebook, or call in to the studio at 246-5467. As we mentioned in yesterday’s email blast, if you would like to be a guest on the show, please contact the HLTA office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 808-923-0407. We look forward to seeing this radio show grow, and hopefully our audience will begin to understand the importance of the hospitality industry more and more.
Ka Ikena Recap:
Mahalo to those of you who attended our Ka Ikena Dinner last Thursday at Kapiolani Community College, as well as to Chef Warren Uchida, KCC Dining Room Manager John Santamaria, Chef Gale O’Malley, and the students of the KCC culinary arts program for being wonderful hosts. This was our 6th annual Ka Ikena Dinner, and the 4th year that we presented a $1,000 scholarship to a student of the KCC Culinary Arts Program. This year, we awarded the scholarship to a young woman named Kylie-Amber Yue, who transferred to KCC from UH Manoa to pursue per passion for the Culinary Arts. She graduated with her KCC Associate in Science degree in Culinary Arts in May 2017 with honors, and is now enrolled in KCC’s Advanced Professional Certificate (APC) program, where her advanced culinary classes are held at the new Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head. After completing her APC, she intends to transfer to UH West Oahu to pursue the BAS degree in Culinary Arts Management.
Future of Existing Buildings:
This Thursday, November 16, HLTA Allied Member Chelsea Group will be holding their annual Future of Existing Buildings Event at the Pacific Guardian Center. I moderated a panel discussion for this event last year, and will be moderating again this year for the panel discussion on the “Industry Experts’ Vision for Honolulu” from 3:30pm-4:30pm. In addition to this panel, the agenda for the day’s events is packed with an HLTA Engineers Advisory Council meeting, more educational sessions, a tradeshow, and a Pau Hana networking session to round out the day. Some of the topics that will be covered throughout the day include: ‘living’ building assessments, tropical climate material failures, central plant optimization strategy, and future visions for power, regulations, and infrastructure investments. For those of you who are available, I highly recommend checking out this event. RSVP to Dricka Thobois at email@example.com
We still have a few seats left at our 6th annual Ka Ikena Dinner at Kapiolani Community College this Thursday, November 9. This event is a benefit for the KCC Culinary Arts Program and provides the culinary arts students with the opportunity to showcase their talents to the leaders of hospitality. We encourage you to bring your team members as there will be plenty of great food and memories to be made. Be sure to register here to reserve your spot.
As I mentioned in last week’s Mufi’s Message, several members of our Board and Government Affairs committee recently met with newly appointed administrative director Ford Fuchigami and members of the Airport Committee of Hawaii at the Daniel K. Inouye airport to learn about the airport’s current projects and the stark need for an independent Airport Corporation. This bill has been through the ringer during the past two sessions each time failing to make it out of the conference committee . We are hoping this corporation bill will finally pass during this upcoming legislative session so that our airport can have a management system that will have a laser-like focus on running and improving Hawaii’s airports. Today, my staff and I attended a Hawaii Visitor & Convention Bureau luncheon featuring Alaska Airline’s CEO Brad Tilden. During the question and answer portion of the session, both Tilden and Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Dunkerly, who was also in the audience, spoke very articulately about the strong need for this Airport Corporation. Tilden praised the efforts of the Airport Committee of Hawaii, and underscored the fact that airports run smoother when run by an independent administrative system. Dunkerly echoed Tilden’s sentiments and emphasized that the corporation would be funded by the airlines and concessions that operate within the airport, and no taxpayer dollars will be used to fund this entity.
Starting next week, HLTA with our partner Salem Media will begin “Tourism Tuesdays,” a radio show highlighting stories from Hawaii’s tourism industry. Every Tuesday from 7-8 a.m. on AM 690, Mike Buck and various members of HLTA will host the show during your morning commute. Tune in on November 14, as yours truly will kick off the first Tourism Tuesday episode. In the ensuing weeks we’ll bring on members of my staff to lead the conversation, and eventually we may be calling on you to share what’s new with your property or business on air. The purpose of this show is to continually inform the public about how important our industry is and all we do for the State. You all heard it at our GMM when Gov. John Waihe’e said that people have a passive-aggressive view of tourism; folks assume the industry will continue to thrive, but that won’t be the case if we take it for granted. Already, some community leaders are making assumptions that tourism will not be the number-one economic driver in our State’s future. Tourism Tuesdays will be a wonderful reminder to the public that the tourism industry not only is, and will continue to be, the economic engine of our State, but also gives back greatly to our communities.
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