Countdown to the Hawaii Hotel & Restaurant Show: 5 Days to Go!
The highly anticipated Hawaii Hotel & Restaurant Show is almost here and will be unveiled next week Wednesday and Thursday at the Hawaii Convention Center. We are excited to showcase how diligently HLTA, HRA and Star Events have been working to bring you a first-class show to the islands.
The HHRS has a lineup of 300 vendors exhibiting a wide variety of goods and services vital to the success of our industry, all under one roof. The expo will also include seminars and workshops on topics that are trending within the hospitality industry. Our very own Engineers Advisory Council (EAC) will be holding their meeting at the trade show. This month's EAC breakfast is sponsored by Assa Abloy, who will be discussing RFID guest-entry solutions and security. For more information, please contact Jessica of my staff at email@example.com.
The Women in Lodging & Tourism Council has put together an informative workshop on how to keep their business relevant in an ever-evolving industry. Click here to register for the WIL workshop, Embracing Radical Innovation, sponsored by AMERESCO.
If you have not yet registered for the HHRS, please click HERE. We look forward to seeing you there.
On the evening of May 29th, there will be a Pau Hana Reception in the lobby of the Convention Center, to benefit the Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation and the Hawaii Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Proceeds generated from ticket sales and auctions will go toward scholarships for students pursuing careers in tourism and culinary arts.
Please join us Wednesday night for a chance to bid on incredible auction items that include: a “ Anywhere In The World” that Alaska Airlines flies for two or a deluxe “California Dreamin' travel package comprising of: a stay at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown, dinner for two at Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill at the LA Staples Center, four tickets to watch LeBron and the Lakers play, and four tickets to see Carrie Underwood perform! To register for the Pau Hana Reception, click HERE.
Ho'oilina Scholarship Recipients
In the spirit of graduation season, I would like to acknowledge some outstanding students: our Ho‘oilina scholarship recipients, our Ho‘okipa scholarship recipients, and our HLTA Member Scholarship recipients – congratulations to you all!
This inaugural class of Ho‘oilina Scholarship Awardees were recognized at a luncheon last Sunday, with myself, HTA President & CEO Chris Tatum, HLTA Chairperson Glenn Vergara, as well as faculty, parents, and members of the selection committee.
These ten recipients are the first to ever receive these full-ride scholarships of $12,000 per year for four years, and were made available to any Hawaii public high school student pursuing a degree in hospitality, tourism, or the culinary arts at either Brigham Young University – Hawaii, Hawai‘i Pacific University, or the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s School of Travel Industry Management (TIM).
Kari-Ann Akasaki – Pearl City High School
Athletic honor student Kari- Ann has excelled in a number of extra-curricular activities, including receiving awards for playing the trombone in Pearl City’s outstanding marching band and as a member of the swimming and track teams. She also prioritizes her church activities and makes time for community events. As a tourism executive, she wants to give her focus to spotlighting “cultural awareness,” ensuring that visitors appreciate and respect Hawai‘i’s multi-cultural society and “customer service,” emphasizing treating our guests in a friendly, efficient, and attentive way thereby making them feel very much at home.
Kailee Chun – Kalani High School
Kailee’s goal is to open a cafe/bakery one day that will reflect the family culture here in Hawai‘i. Her plan is to support other small businesses by embracing the “Buy Local” product mantra. She is picking up valuable culinary experience as an employee at Arancino‘s at the Kahala Hotel & Resort, as well as at Crepes No Ka Oi. She is an active member of DECA, and excels in the business courses she has taken as a Falcon, so it is no surprise that she will be pursuing a dual major in both TIM and Marketing.
Keslyn Higa – ‘Aiea High School
Keslyn is ranked first in her graduating class academically, with a GPA of 4.042. Given her strong interest in marketing, she hopes to parlay this interest in unique ways to help contribute to the industry, as well as promote the aloha spirit in all of her professional endeavors. She is heavily involved in numerous activities at ‘Aiea High School, including the Red Cross and photography clubs, Bands and Wind Ensemble, and contributed over 100 hours of community service.
Janisse Precious Ibana – Waipahu High School
Janisse is an involved member of the Marauders highly-acclaimed Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, Accounting and Economics. She has been actively engaged in student government, the student-operated Credit Union, and DECA. She also has a strong passion for the arts, fashion, music and cooking. While majoring in Hospitality and Tourism at Hawai‘i Pacific University in the fall, Janisse also aspires to take courses in International Business. She has previously interned at Atlantis Submarines and worked at Zippy’s.
Taylor Ledgerwood – Kaiser High School
Besides having a strong interest in tourism, Taylor is passionate about the fields of law and the environment and hopes to combine all of these interest in her professional career. She works as a host and server at the Honolulu Elks Lodge, and has already interned at a prominent Honolulu law firm. She has excelled in numerous Cougar activities, including being active in leadership for the Cougars paddling and cheer teams. She has also been involved in clubs from to cooking to the environment, which included serving as the advisor to the Ka Iwi Coast Youth.
Sarah Lorenzo – Kaiser High School
Sarah is the consummate scholar- athlete as a member of the National Honor Society, compiling numerous academic honors and being named the OIA Player of the Year in Water Polo by virtue of her role with the Cougars championship team. Her community volunteer activities include the blood drive, algae cleanups, eyeglass cleaning and the Visitor Industry Charity Walk. Sarah recognizes the tourism industry as one of the strongest in Hawaii and as a native Hawaiian, aspires to become a hospitality executive who will “share the uniqueness of Hawai‘i and our culture to help create joyful experiences.”
Macy Luke – Moanalua High School
Inspired by her mother’s outstanding cooking, Macy developed an early interest in culinary arts as her potential career. She now wants to blend that with her passionate belief in all that makes growing up in Hawai‘i special - family, love, respect, humility and loyalty - as the basis of her successful career in tourism. Macy is an honor roll student, who has an excellent record of accomplishment in several student activities, including events committees, Orchestra and Band, Korean and Science clubs. She also been a teaching assistant for Kalihi Union Church Preschool, as well as volunteered with couple of elementary school’s fun fairs in her district.
Emily Quach – Moanalua High School
Out of a senior class of 439 students, Emily is at the top of the heap with a GPA of 4.039. She has done exceptionally well in numerous school and community endeavors ranging from athletics to health to music and volunteers at the Waikiki Aquarium. From a young age she has traveled to a number of states, Canada and Japan. As part of her goal as a future tourism leader, this Na Menehune graduate hopes to bring “world peace and harmony as we steer the rough waters of the 21st Century.” She hopes to bring everyone together by “encouraging people to embrace each other’s similarities and differences” which is what Hawai‘i is all about.
Rhema Wong – Kaiser High School
Rhema is wasting no time acquiring valuable experience in the restaurant business, toiling at the popular Gyotaku Restaurant in Aina Haina, and as a past employee of Gokoku Sushi and Subway. This honor roll student is a tireless volunteer on the Cougar campus and community, especially with the L.E.A.P. club, an environmentally friendly organization dedicated to promoting a healthier planet. She feels it is her “kuleana” to incorporate her affinity and passion for preserving and enhancing the environment and beauty of her home, Hawai‘i, into her hospitality career.
Fanglin Xu – Moanalua High School
Fanglin has worked hard to earn an overall GPA of 3.967 while balancing her schedule to accommodate her other school activities, such as the Leo Club, DECA, ROTC and managing the school store. Fluent in 3 languages (English, Chinese and Japanese), Fanglin stands to be very much in demand in the tourism industry and international business community. She envisions herself assisting, educating and inspiring international visitors to Hawai‘i from these key Asian countries, as she has already discovered her enthusiasm for translation and cultural exchange.
Remembering Dean Chuck Gee
At the second annual aio Media Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Awards earlier this year, we awarded Dr. Chuck Gee, Dean Emeritus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Travel Industry Management with our inaugural "Legacy Award." I recommended that we recognize him for his extraordinary efforts in service and contributions to the hospitality industry, and Hawaii.
Though Chuck had been the recipient of many other tourism accolades - from the PATA Gallery of Legends induction, to his Lifetime Achievement Award from the President of Taiwan, and many more, we wanted to acknowledge his outstanding contributions to Hawaii's tourism industry.
I had the distinct pleasure to know and learn from Chuck for many years; in fact, I met him during my tenure as state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Director and continued to work with him during my service as Mayor and in my current position at HLTA. Not only was he the longest-serving Dean of the TIM School, but he was an exemplary mentor, educator, and friend. He exuded aloha, and was a great ambassador during his travels abroad. He had such dreams for Hawaii, and we have him to thank for all that we have achieved in terms of recognition as a worldwide tourism destination.
Gee’s Celebration of Life will be held on Tuesday, June 25 at the Sheraton Waikīkī Kauaʻi Ballroom. Visitation will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m. with the service starting at 5:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the university. Messages may sent via the Diamond Head Mortuary and Williams Funeral Services.
Youth Impact Program (YIP) Launches Year Three
I have always believed that great things can transpire when different sectors of the community rally together behind worthwhile causes. One such example of this success is visible through the amazing strides being made by Hawai’i’s Youth Impact Program. The Youth Impact Program, or YIP for short, is an educational leadership program which connects the University of Hawai‘i’s athletic department and their student athletes, the United States Army, and the United States Marines, with 100 local at-risk youth. Trust, relationship-building, and experience-based learning occur over a two-week program which includes 60 total classroom hours and two hours a day of physical and athletic development.
As this national program heads into its third year in Hawaii, Program Founder and former NFL standout, Riki Ellison, in partnership with local celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi, has once again brought the local businesses community together to contribute to its efforts. As one of the founding sponsors, we are proud to once again offer the support of the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association to this proven program.
The third iteration of YIP was launched this past Monday at none other than Roy’s Eating House 1849 at the International Marketplace in Waikiki. I was joined by state legislators Senate President Ron Kouchi, Kaua‘i Representative James Tokioka, and Waipahu Representative Ty Cullen to offer words of encouragement, gratitude, and insight to those in attendance. HLTA members First Hawaiian Bank, Roberts Hawaii, The Kahala Hotel and Resort, The Royal Hawaiian Hotel and Roy’s were also acknowledged for their sponsorship.
Their partnerships provide the students with daily meals, transportation to and from UH, football uniforms, equipment, and school supplies at no cost to the families. Kids will come from areas like Kalihi, Waipahu, Ewa Beach, and the Waianae Coast. We look forward to another successful session!
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