aio Media Hawai`i Lodging & Tourism Awards Gala
It was a special evening for some of our industry’s top individuals and organizations as they were recognized last night at the aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards held at the Hawaii Convention Center. The purpose of this awards event is to distinguish and reward those who exemplify excellence within our industry. These are the individuals and companies who demonstrate an elevated level of leadership, commitment, and the Aloha Spirit, and have been key in helping us maintain our reputation as one of the best places in the world to visit, relax, and have fun.
Here are this year’s winners:
*Represents HLTA members and member affiliates
I also want to take the time to recognize our HLTA members who were finalists at last night’s awards ceremony:
Congratulations to all the nominees and award winners for your outstanding achievements! A special mahalo to all the sponsors who contributed to the success of this event, our co-emcees Mahealani Richardson and Mileka Lincoln of Hawai‘i News Now, and to Susan Eichor, President & COO of aio Media, and her team for their partnership in the first ever Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Awards.
40th Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk
This past Wednesday marked the official kick off of the 40th annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk on Oahu where nearly 200 recruiters joined us at Dole Cannery’s Pomaikai Ballrooms to drum up excitement for the walk and learn important fundraising information. The morning featured speeches from Senate Tourism Chair Glenn Wakai, who expressed his gratitude to the visitor industry for the tireless efforts they put forth into bettering our community, and Charity Walk Statewide Chair, Glenn Vergara, who shared a heartfelt story of individuals who have gone beyond the call to raise funds. The morning proceeded with the awarding of the perpetual Charity Walk t-shirt contest trophy which was given to team Kyo-ya, Starwood Hotels Waikiki, & Marriott International for their shirt design in 2017. The award was accepted by Ms. Kehaulani Kam, who has been a part of the Charity Walk since its inception in 1978.
I would like to give a shout out to our emcees Dita Holifield, General Manager at Salem Media Hawai‘i, and Sam Kapu Jr. from The Fish 95.5 FM for their phenomenal job at hyping up our attendees and building enthusiasm amongst the team captains and nonprofit representatives. And I would like to send a very big mahalo to Chris Sbarbaro and his team from Enterprise Holdings for “kicking-off” our Charity Walk campaign with a $10,000 check donated to our statewide efforts so that every county will benefit.
For those that missed our Charity Walk Kick-Off Rally please visit us at www.charitywalkhawaii.org where you will find all pertinent information regarding the walk and our collateral pieces available for download.
Lastly, if you’re a non-profit, I want to encourage you to get involved. Your active role in the Charity Walk will only help benefit your organization and in turn, our community. To that end, I highlighted the focuses that take priority when it comes to grant proposals: homelessness, children, education, the elderly, crime and public safety, veterans, and health. Grants are given based on the organization’s level of participation so this is a great opportunity for you to take your efforts to the next level! Last year we were able to raise a record $2.27 million dollars across Hawai‘i which in turn helped benefit 350 non-profit charitable organizations! This year Statewide Chair Glenn Vergara and I would like to challenge you all in helping us set a new record so that we can do even more for our community; after all “We’re All in this Together.”
Homelessness Bill heads to the Senate
While we are on the topic of Charity Walk, let me take a moment to apprise you of one of HLTA’s priority measures at the State Legislature, House Bill 2012. For those of you who may not be familiar with HB2012, this measure would allocate up to $2,000,000 from the general fund of the transient accommodations tax revenues to the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) to implement initiatives, in conjunction with the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, to address homelessness in tourism impacted areas. This $2 million dollar allocation would be available as matching funds to private sector contributions (such as the Charity Walk) addressing homelessness programs in visitor impacted locales. The measure, championed by Tourism Chairs Representative Richard Onishi, Senator Glenn Wakai, and Health & Human Services Chair Representative John Mizuno, has successfully passed through the State House of Representatives with unanimous support. The bill has now crossed over to the State Senate and has been referred to the committees on Economic Development, Tourism, & Technology, Human Services, and Ways & Means. HLTA will continue to support this very important measure through every step of the legislative process and we will keep you informed of its status along the way.
For more information or inquiries on how to get involved with the legislative process please feel free to contact Jared Higashi of my staff at email@example.com or at (808) 923-0407.
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