Mufi's Message 3.15.19
Visitor Public Safety Conference - 03/28
I have always said that Hawaii’s tourism industry relies on the fact that we are a safe place to live, play, visit, and do business. All it would take is a few highly publicized crimes to harm this reputation, which draws millions of visitors to our shores and entices world class conventions such as the APEC conference, the World Conservations Congress, and arriving in 2020 the Festival of the Pacific Arts and Culture.
Last year, our inaugural VPSC was a resounding success - it helped to formulate both short and long-term goals addressing safety and crime, as well as established actionable items for all stakeholders to consider. In fact, the proof is in the poi, as exactly one-year after our conference, many of the suggestions from the meeting were reflected in the 2019 Waikiki crime-fighting plan, rolled out by the Honolulu Police Department and the City Administration.
But with public safety-related incidences making their way back to the front pages, HLTA has decided to hold a second iteration of our Visitor Public Safety Conference, hosted in partnership with the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, the Waikiki Improvement Association, the Waikiki Business Improvement District Association, and the Hawaii Hotel Visitor Industry Security Association.
This year’s meeting will be a half-day affair, driven by leaders from all sectors of public safety. The morning will begin with the Honolulu Police Department’s leadership, sharing their insight on current crime and their numerous new initiatives. The second half of the conference will feature a panel of specialists who will focus on the seven major concerns in terms of crime reduction and safety: residential, hotels, businesses, visitors, youth, the military, and homelessness.
If you’re interested in attending, please register here.
Member Spotlight: Ben Rafter
For those of you who caught Ben Rafter’s feature in Hawaii Business Magazine, you know that Ben is working on turning OLS Hotels & Resorts into “the next great Hawaii hotel operator.”
The 2015-2016 HLTA Chairperson is CEO of OLS Hotels & Resorts, which operates 23 branded and boutique hotels nationwide, with plans to move its headquarters from LA to Honolulu soon. OLS Hotels & Resorts is more than 50% locally owned, and is operating five Hawaii hotels. But with Ben at the helm, they’re expanding their local operations, and are looking to take up the mantle as a great, locally-owned Hawaii hotel operator, following in the footsteps of the Kelley family of Outrigger and others that preceded them. Rafter, a current HTA board member, also has recruited Rob Robinson, formerly with 'Alohilani Resort of Highgate Hotels to be part of his management team. Both Robinson and Rafter are active board members of HLTA.
Although the past President of Aqua-Aston Hospitality got his start in the tech world, I think it’s clear that Ben has found his niche in the hospitality world.
To catch the full Hawaii Business feature, click here.
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