With Emergency Management as a key priority of the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association, I have always said it isn’t a matter of “if”, but a matter of “when”. We saw this reflected this past weekend when Kaua‘i was hit with record-breaking rains causing extensive flood damage to the northern part of the island.
Our stakeholders and partners on the Garden Isle have been heavily involved with the ongoing rescue and recovery efforts helping service the hundreds who are currently located in regions inaccessible by ground transportation. The response from the community has been truly inspiring, and HLTA is proud to say that members of our Kauai Chapter have been front and center in representing the visitor industry.
Our hotel partners have contributed thousands of dollars to non-profit organizations, given over a hundred cases of water to impacted areas, and are facilitating canned food drives to donate to local shelters, but that’s just the beginning. We’ve also logged the following donations: bags, boxes, cases, and pallets worth of bed sheets, bath towels, cleaning supplies, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, trash bags, and laundry detergent.
In addition to these contributions, our members have put boots on the ground in the packaging of these donated goods at Hanalei Airport, to be airlifted into the areas hit hardest by the storm. A prime example are the department teams from The Cliffs at Princeville who have dedicated their time and energy to help with such efforts. With more rain in the forecast and grounds still slick, I would like to take this moment to remind everyone that though there are donations pouring in now, there is still a lot of work to be done.
We'll continue to monitor the situation very closely and look to identify other ways that we can help our loved ones and friends on Kauai get back on their feet again. In the meantime, I would like to again commend our HLTA Kauai Chapter Board, who has led by example during this time of crisis and need. Not only have they supported their associates who have been impacted, but they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to lend a helping hand in their fellow communities… after all, “we’re all in this together.”
Edwin K. Hastings Scholarship Awarded to UH Manoa TIM Student
This past Wednesday, the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s Tourism Industry Management (TIM) School held its annual networking event, Na Kukui Netlinks, at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa. The ballroom brimmed with student excitement as they gathered, eager to network with leaders from the hospitality industry.
As you know, the UH TIM program’s curriculum prepares students to not only work but excel in various jobs within the industry and the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association was honored to present our Edwin K. Hastings Scholarship to a well-deserving TIM student, Jared Matsuki. Jared is a proud graduate of Roosevelt High School and is currently a junior in the TIM program. He’s employed with Prince Waikiki Resort and presently serves as president of Eta Sigma Delta, a prestigious international hospitality honor society that recognizes the scholastic achievements of students who are pursuing a degree in the field. Jared is also one of the fifteen participants in our Generational Mentoring Program and is paired with HLTA Board Member Craig Anderson of the Mauna Kea Resort.
Congratulations Jared, and best wishes on your continued success!
Honolulu City Council Bill 6 (2018)
Also on Wednesday, the Honolulu City Council’s Committee on Budget heard Bill 6 (2018) which aims to amend Section 29-16.6, revised Ordinances of Honolulu, to exclude the public nuisance exception of having objects such as rolling kiosks on the sidewalks in the Waikiki Special District. The bill has grown legs and is rapidly progressing through the City Council with strong backing from the visitor industry. Last month, the bill passed second reading in front of the full council with unanimous support and was subsequently passed this week through the Committee on Budget with all present members voting aye. The measure is now slated to go before the full council for final reading on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. We send our mahalo to all our members and industry partners who have been actively engaged in the legislative process and are advocating for this important issue.
In response to action items developed from our Visitor Public Safety Conference, WIA's executive director Rick Egged and Councilmember Trevor Ozawa have joined me in facilitating round table meetings with the Honolulu Police Department and the independent “cabaret licensed” operators in Waikiki. While we are in early stages, our discussions have been promising. Stakeholders attending our meetings include cabaret establishments, their property owners, HPD, WBIDA, WIA, and the military. We are working towards reaching amicable solutions in keeping Waikiki safe for visitors and residents alike.
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