We hope to see you this Thursday, August 10 for our annual Scholarship Golf Tournament at the Hawaii Prince Golf Club in Ewa. Our golf committee and staff have been working hard to ensure a fantastic time. Mahalo to all our wonderful sponsors who are providing fun, food, drinks, and prizes throughout the day, and to all our teams who are contributing greatly to our scholarship fund. In addition to a slew of door prizes, there will be two great live-auction items for you to bid on: a trip on Hawaiian Air to New Zealand with a stay at the beautiful The Spencer on Byron Hotel and a trip to San Diego on Alaska Airlines with accommodations at the fabulous Fairmont Grand Del Mar.
As you know, the Scholarship Golf Tournament supports the many grants we give to aspiring young students, many of whom aspire to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. This year we have supported over ten students in their educational pursuits, in addition to the 42 students we provide scholarships for at our annual Citizen-Scholar Awards.
This Sunday, August 13, 2017, the International Market Place will be unveiling a statue in tribute to Don Ho at the Banyan court near Kalakaua Avenue. The ceremony will begin at 1:30p.m. with a blessing ceremony, speakers, and performances by the Ho family and Kimo Kahoano. Later that evening, there will be special entertainment by Hawaiian music all-stars, Melveen Leed, Marleen Sai, Nina Kealiiwahamana, Kimo Kahoano, Henry Kapono, and more. HLTA will also be presenting our Don Ho Legacy Scholarship to this year’s inaugural recipient Daylan-Blake Kalai, who will be attending New York University this Fall. If you are in the area, please join us to recognize this Hilo native and recent graduate from Kamehameha Schools on the Big Island, where he was greatly involved in the performing arts program. Last year, Kalai starred in the Hawaiian language opera Ha‘upu, which took him and his classmates to Edinburgh, Scotland to perform in the world’s largest performing arts festival.
On the legislative front, we are actively addressing our industry’s concerns with funding the Rail project through any increase of the transient accommodations tax. On Monday, August 14, there will be a public informational briefing at 10 a.m. in the State Capitol auditorium. We encourage all our members to attend this briefing and oppose increases to the TAT. Key committee chairs and members from both the House of Representatives and the State Senate will be in attendance to hear from the public as they work on an agreement on rail funding. Please submit testimony via email to the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy at TRETestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov. Testimony may be submitted up to 24 hours prior to the start of the informational briefing. Please feel free to use our attached HLTA letter as a guide for your testimony and we ask that you also include your own specific examples on how increasing the TAT will be harmful to your business and the industry. This will make your testimony much more personal and unique. It is going to take a herculean effort from us all if we are going to persuade the legislature to eliminate the TAT as a potential funding source. It is critical that we have a strong showing. Unlike a legislative session that lasts 4 months, we’re talking about a special session that is 5 days in length and an informational briefing. Please do everything, if you’re in town, to rearrange your schedule to be there. Once again please feel free to contact Jared Higashi or anyone of us at HLTA if you have any questions.
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