Project Vision Executive Director Annie Valentin, left, and Hawai'i County Councilmember-elect Ashley Kierkiewicz, right, with HLTA President Mufi Hannemann.
When the news first spread that the Puna area was experiencing significant lava flow from the fissures in the area, everyone was concerned. And while donation drives and financial contributions are always helpful, we wanted to help in a different way: a more long-term solution to a long-term situation.
Though the lava flows have subsided since August, we know that the families who have been displaced by this event are still experiencing major challenges. Shelters are overcrowded, and everyday conveniences are easily taken for granted.
Project Vision Hawaii, which operates Project HiEHiE, dispatched their first trailer to Hawaii Island on June 12th, to support the Puna temporary micro-housing units, managed by HOPE Services Hawaii, which do not have plumbing. Through HLTA’s charitable arm, the Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation, we contributed an initial $5,000 to fund the unit’s operation and maintenance during this period.
The HiEHiE mobile hygiene center contains private units, each with a shower and toilet; one unit is ADA-accessible, and even includes a diaper-changing station.
But that trailer is still needed on Oahu, to serve its original, intended purpose: to provide a hot shower and personal sanitation resources to those who are experiencing homelessness. So, another hygiene unit was commissioned, and I was pleased to be present for the blessing. HLTA was proud to present an additional $15,000 towards the operation and maintenance of Project HiEHiE’s new sanitation center on Hawai‘i island as part of its disaster relief efforts.
Kudos to Project Vision Executive Director Annie Valentin, as well as HOPE Services Hawai’i CEO Brandee Menino, and newly elected Hawaii County Councilmember Ashley Kierkiewicz for their outstanding efforts in making Project HiEHiE a success
Hawaii Ecotourism Association
Hawaii Ecotourism Association Board Member Annette Kaohelaulii, who has actively represented the HEA booth at HLTA's Tourism Day at the Capitol.
This past Tuesday, I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the Hawai‘i Ecotourism Association’s (HEA) annual awards luncheon at the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel. For those of you who may not be familiar with this organization they are all about making travel “ pono “ and their mission is “to protect Hawaii’s unique natural environment and host culture through the promotion of responsible travel and educational programs relating to sustainable tourism for residents, businesses and visitors.” The timing could not have been better, as I recently broached the issue of “overtourism” in my state of the industry address at our General Membership Meeting last month as a subject that we need to be engage with seriously, or risk being dictated to by those that may not appreciate or understand tourism as well.
HEA Board President Chris Barzman’s had heard my comments on a Hawai‘i Public Radio segment on sustainable tourism that also featured State House Tourism Chair Richard Onishi and Elizabeth Churchill, the Owner of Churchill Group LLC, and the former Chief Revenue Officer for Aqua-Aston Hospitality. That interview prompted him to extend the invitation.
In sync with their mission, I decided to gear my speech to the topics of overtourismand sustainable tourism which is becoming more and more prevalent as we inch closer towards the 10 million annual visitor mark in Hawaii. The core message of my presentation focused on the underlying theme that “it is not enough to focus on the marketing of tourism- we need to be equally as concerned about prioritizing managing tourism better. “ It has been my mantra from day one when I served as the Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism in the early 90’s that we, as a state, need quality tourism versus quantity tourism.
I also pointed to my experiences as a former councilmember and as the Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu to highlight the importance of sustaining our infrastructure and our cultural identity. This was prevalent during my tenure in office in leading efforts to preserve important natural resources such as Hanauma Bay and Waimea Valley.
I also pointed to the amazing work that the HLTA Kaua‘i Chapter and the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association are doing in partnership with their respective County governments, business partners, and industry stakeholders in completing Tourism Strategic Plans that hone in on “next step solutions.” In fact I would like to see the implementation of similar initiatives on Oahu, Hawai‘i Island, and comprehensively for the state of Hawaii.
I closed out my speech on a congratulatory note, applauding HEA for their commendable work, and to all their members that were recognized for their accomplishments in keeping Hawai‘i a sustainable place to work, live, visit, and play.
7th Annual Ka 'Ikena Holiday Reception
HLTA’s Mufi Hannemann and Dean Nakasone with 2019 HLTA Chairperson Glenn Vergara (Waikiki Resort Hotel), KCC Culinary Department Director Grant Itomitsu, Dining Room Instructor John Santamaria, & the Ka ‘Ikena Reception Culinary and Serving Staff.
Last night was our 7th Annual Ka ‘Ikena Holiday Reception at Kap’iolani Community College. HLTA members and their guests gathered in the Ka ‘Ikena Dining Room to support the KCC Culinary Program. This is a signature event of HLTA’s Oahu Chapter and always proves to be an evening full of creative dishes and fellowship amongst members. This year’s menu highlighted a creamy mushroom risotto, braised lamb shanks, and seared salmon, just to name a few and a delicious holiday dessert spread.
KCC Chancellor Louise Pagotto and some of her key staff graced us with their presence. This reception not only gives our members, such as HLTA Chair Glenn Vergara, an opportunity to network, mix and mingle, but provides the culinary students the opportunity to showcase their talents to the leaders of our industry, while raising monies for a great cause.
HLTA is proud to support many scholarships, over a range of educational disciplines, and including Culinary Arts. This year’s KCC 2018 Culinary Arts Scholarship was awarded to Melanie Tancinco, who will continue her education at UH West Oahu, pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Culinary Management, beginning in 2019. Melanie aspires to become an Executive Chef, and is committed and passionate about her career. So much so, in fact, that she is part of the Culinary team at Halekulani, and was hard at work yesterday evening. I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Melanie on both receiving this scholarship, as well as earning her Associate’s Degree at KCC.
We look forward to seeing many of these talented culinary students like Melanie contributing to the success of our hotels and restaurants. Lastly, please keep in mind that Ka ‘Ikena is also an operational dining restaurant, which accepts reservations throughout the school year. If you need a new place to try, don’t miss these wonderful aspiring chefs and experience their talent for yourselves.
KCC - UH Foundation Dinner
Top Row: KC Collins (UH Foundation), Jutamas Buaklan (KCC student), Mufi Hannemann (HLTA), John Richards (KCC) Second Row: Jessica Caires, Jennifer Chun (HTA), Scholarship Recipient Deidre Lynne Monroy, Dean Nakasone (HLTA).
Last Thursday, Kapi’olani Community College & University of Hawai’i Foundation held their annual Scholarship Mahalo Dinner at KCC’s Ō‘hia dining hall. With the help of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association and other generous patrons, over $502,000 in scholarship funds were donated to Kap’iolani Community College this past year.
As you all know, HLTA is a staunch supporter of education and at this year’s Mahalo Dinner, we were pleased to spend time with our 2018 recipient of the HLTA Scholarship in Hospitality & Tourism, Deidre Lynne Monroy. Unfortunately, our 2019 recipient, Joan Dantzig, was ill and unable to attend. Both students are bright, motivated, and excited to continue their education.
Congratulations Deidre and Joan, and best wishes for your continued success!
FESTPAC 2020 Launch Party
A large part of promoting and protecting tourism in Hawaii is the role we play as stewards of our native Hawaiian culture: an aspect that makes us such a unique destination. This privilege and responsibility is bestowed upon the many cultural advisors, government and community leaders, kumu hula, kupuna, and visitor industry representatives in our state.
Throughout the Pacific, you will find a diverse range of countries and island nations who all endeavor to showcase their respective cultures. FESTPAC offers a platform in which these countries can come together to exchange traditional practices and to nurture new and existing friendships.
Often referred to as the Olympics of Culture and Arts in the Pacific, this travelling festival is convened only once every four years. In 2020, Hawaii has been given the honor of hosting this prestigious event, for the 13th Festival of the Pacific Arts: “E Kū i Ka Hoe Uli; a e Kohi i Ka Pale Kai.” 28 Pacific Island delegations will be in attendance June 10-20, 2020 to celebrate, demonstrate, perform and share their stories of their beautiful islands.
On November 20th, the Organizing Committee, led by Kumu Hula Vicky Holt Takamine, will be hosting their official launch party at the Prince Waikiki, thanks to Prince Resorts Hawaii President Kisan Jo, who was impressed with Takamine’s presentation at our GMM and offered his support. I highly encourage you to also reach out to Vicky and her cohort, which includes her fellow Kumu Hula Michael Pili Pang, if you are interested in getting involved with this once-in-a-lifetime occasion.
For more information, please contact Vicky directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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