Mufi's Message - August 18, 2021
21st Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament
Last week, we hosted our 21st Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament at Pearl Country Club. Thanks to the generous contributions of our members, industry partners, and friends, I am excited to report that we raised more than $90,000 which will help fuel our foundation's efforts to provide scholarships to students and educators around our state!
We were favored with excellent testimonies from three future leaders of our hospitality industry including Waipahu High School's Janisse Ibana and Kaiser High School's Rhema Wong, both of whom are Ho'oilina Scholars currently at the UH School of Travel Industry Management at the Shidler College of Business. Jessica Chang of 'Aiea High School, O'ahu's top Citizen-Scholar for 2021, is bound for Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration in Upstate New York.
None of this would have been possible without you. Team sponsors, players, in-kind donors, volunteers, and HLTA staff all came together to make this event a reality. I want to give a special shoutout to the HLTA Golf Tournament Committee and Committee Chair John Hulihe'e who worked tirelessly to host a safe, successful, and fun-filled event.
I also want to recognize all attendees for their flexibility in regard to State and county public health mandates and the protective measures that I called for in order to participate in the wake of the rising cases of COVID-19 sweeping through our community. I truly appreciate everybody's kōkua in this regard as the success of our golf tournament really demonstrated that these kinds of events are possible when we pay attention to the science and do our utmost to care for the wellbeing of our neighbors.
TAT Rail Funding
Honolulu Civil Beat ran an interesting article this morning regarding discussions between the City & County of Honolulu and HART on the feasibility of using the new 3% TAT surcharge as a form of bailout for the rail project which is currently experiencing a $3.6B budgetary shortfall.
As I noted in my comments to Civil Beat, this is just the latest action from local government that would use our industry again to fund initiatives not necessarily aligned with tourism objectives. You may recall that, in 2017, we strongly opposed the State Legislature's addition of one percent to the TAT to cover the rail project's budgetary shortfall. Rather than always relying on the visitor industry, this would be an opportune time to urge the City to focus on taking action on illegal short-term vacation rentals as this stands to generate millions of dollars for their fiscal needs.
With the current attitudes surrounding overtourism and the industry as a whole, we need to vigilantly oppose any form of additional taxes that work against the interests of an industry that the State and counties rely upon for thousands of jobs for our citizenry.
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