aio Media Hawai'i Lodging and Tourism Awards
Today is the last day to submit nominations for the 2nd annual aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards. If there is an organization, event, or leader in our community that you feel should be recognized for their contributions to tourism, I highly encourage you to please make a submission for the following six categories: accommodations, food & beverage, events, activities, and leadership in the industry.
Nominations can be made at www.hawaiimagazine.com/hlta
Stay tuned as we release more details on the aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards taking place on March 1, 2019 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.
GMM Recap - and a Special Announcement for May 29 & 30, 2019
At HLTA, we take great pride in encouraging our millennials and young professionals to become more engaged in our industry. It is in that spirit that I empowered our HYPE Committee to host a well - attended educational seminar, entitled “EQ & IQ: The Rise of Workplace-Valued Emotional Intelligence,” on Thursday evening to coincide with our 191st General Membership Meeting. Moderator Joe Bock and panelists Cynthia Yamasaki, Anisah Ahakuelo, and Corey Campbell did an exceptional job helping our attendees gain a deeper understanding of the importance of emotional intelligence and how it translates to career development.
Friday saw our official programming commence with our sponsor showcase, which gave our allied and hotel members an opportunity to combine business and breakfast. Sponsors from across the islands, as well as California, Chicago, and Minnesota all spent the morning displaying their products and services which led to future business and tremendous networking opportunities!
After our official HLTA Board Meeting was a “Lunch and Learn,” session featuring HLTA endorsed candidates and a Hawaiian cultural panel. I was pleased to see Maui mayoral candidate Mike Victorino, House Tourism Chair Representative Richard Onishi, Honolulu City Council Budget Committee Chair Trevor Ozawa, and Senate District 12 candidate Sharon Moriwaki speak for a few minutes about their support for tourism. Subsequent to our political speakers, our guests had the privilege to hear from a trio of distinguished Kumu Hula - Robert Cazimero, Vicky Holt Takamine, and Michael Pili Pang about the increasingly significant role and prominence that Hawaiian culture plays in our industry.
Moreover, we were incredibly fortunate to see the halau of the three kumu hula come together later that night in a special show created just for our Friday evening reception , according to Pili Pang. It was a wonderful experience full of storytelling, wonderful live music, hula and fellowship- all of this led by the extremely talented Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning artist Robert Cazimero.
Day two kicked off with our HLTA GMM General Session, where we extended a big mahalo to HLTA Chairperson Gregg Nelson of the Napili Kai Beach Resort for his leadership in 2017-18 and officially welcomed our new 2018-19 HLTA Chairperson Glenn Vergara of the Waikiki Resort Hotel.
During the morning events, I brought back our “member role call” that we used as a way for our attendees to share a little bit about themselves and to get to know each other a little better. Our membership also got a glimpse of what our island chapters accomplished over the course of 2018, through our chapter reports.
Following the introductory program, I gave my annual State of the Industry Address, where I recapped the key issues and accomplishments of our organization through 2018 and gave insights on our upcoming endeavors for 2019 and beyond. I always look forward to this aspect of our GMM.
I also capitalized on the moment and unveiled some BIG news. I announced HLTA’s partnership with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the Hawaii Restaurant Association to present the inaugural Hawaii Hotel, Restaurant & Travel Show which will take place on May 29th & 30th of next year.
This will showcase the very best in Hawaii’s hospitality industry and feature educational seminars, live demonstrations, interactive attractions and the latest trends in technology. We have been working diligently to put this formidable partnership together and it will be a wonderful new addition to our lineup of activities in 2019!
During Saturday’s Lunch & Learn, attendees heard directly from Governor David Ige as he addressed industry concerns and outlined the top priorities in his administration from increasing affordable housing, to reducing homelessness, and finally the implementation of an airports corporation to enhance our visitors’ experience from the moment they arrive in our islands.
I would also like to give a special mahalo to one of our key industry leaders and HLTA Board Member, Jerry Gibson, Area Vice President of Hilton/Turtle Bay for a dynamic speech on the future forecast of Tourism. He offered a list of challenges that must be addressed if our industry is to remain No Ka Oi - very timely and thought-provoking.
Our three-day event concluded with a beautiful outdoor reception on the Four Season’s Ocean Lawn and featured a special buffet prepared by Executive Chef Richard Polhemus and live entertainment by SOULZ. I’d like to thank Senator Josh Green who flew in from Hawai’i island to address and join us, as well as our other endorsed first- time candidates Kelly Kitashima and Val Okimoto for taking the time to be there. On behalf of HLTA, thank you to everyone who attended this year’s GMM, one of the most successful ones during my tenure and it would not have been so without the participation of our members and incredibly generous sponsors.
I would be remiss If I didn’t acknowledge another new feature of our GMM that occurred over the weekend. Our fabulous spadea spread which was always part of the USA Today edition in years past for the first time this year was included in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Saturday October 12 paper (and if you would like additional copies, please call Ashley Yonamine of my staff).
Mahalo to Star Advertiser’s President and Publisher Dennis Francis for recognizing the important work that HLTA does in the community!
Ka 'Ikena Holiday Fundraiser
Please join us at our 7th annual Ka ‘Ikena Holiday reception on Thursday, November 15th at Kapiolani Community College. Students enrolled in the KCC Culinary Program host the event in the Ka ‘Ikena Dining Room on campus and are given the opportunity to showcase their talents to all of you. Funds raised through ticket sales help benefit the school’s Culinary Program and allows HLTA to award a $1,000 scholarship to a well deserving student pursuing a career in culinary arts every year. I’d like to encourage all of you to attend this special fundraiser supported by our Oahu Chapter to help create more opportunities for our aspiring Culinary students.
To register for the Ka ‘Ikena Holiday reception, please click HERE.
Ritz-Carlton Residence Waikiki Opens Its Doors to Its Second Tower
This past Monday, the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach held a blessing ceremony to officially open the doors to their long-awaited Diamond Head Tower, bringing to completion what was a three and a half year project. The 245-residence tower is a welcome addition to Waikiki’s inventory, and I, for one, am excited to break in the facilities as HLTA will be holding our upcoming Board of Directors meeting at the second tower’s event space on November 15. I would like to extend heartfelt congratulations to Irongate, the Ritz-Carlton, Marriott International, and to HLTA Board member and General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach Doug Chang, and his team, for this momentous milestone. We wish you continued success in all your future endeavors.
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