GMM - Saturday Night Performer:
I hope you are as enthusiastic as we are for GMM this weekend at Turtle Bay Resort. Get ready to go back to the big band era, because we are thrilled to announce that we have secured Raiatea Helm to perform a medley of jazz, swing, and Hawaiian classics during Saturday evening’s reception. The timing is perfect as Raiatea is gearing up for her retro tour circa 1940s and beyond at Blue Note Waikiki, just a week after our 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s-themed celebration of our association’s 70th anniversary. This is a very special preview of what’s to come for the six-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner, and I’m confident that you will all be awe-inspired by her performance.
Tourism Security Talk Story Session:
Last Friday HLTA partnered with the Hawaii Hotel & Visitor Security Association (HHVISA) and the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) for a talk story session with Dr. Peter Tarlow, a world-renowned speaker and expert on tourism security. Dr. Tarlow specializes in the areas of crime and terrorism on the tourism industry, event and tourism risk management, and tourism and economic development, and has experience addressing agencies such as the US Center for Disease Control, The International Olympics Committee, The International Organization for Security and Intelligence, and The United Nation’s World Tourism Organization.
I’ve worked closely with Dr. Tarlow since the 1990’s, when I led the charge for the first ever Visitor Crime Solutions Conference as a response to the rash of negative incidents against Japanese tourists at that time. Government officials from Japan went public with their concerns. We could not afford to stand pat and risk being seen as being insensitive to visitor's safety in Hawaii. The conference was a partnership between government and the private sector, and helped to shed light and resolve some of the issues we were having in Waikiki and it went a long way towards assuaging our Japanese visitors that their safety was a high priority for us. We called for a number of improvements and initiatives that required HPD, county government and the visitor industry to collaborate for the good of the industry.
I believe it is high time we had another conference on tourism security in Hawaii, and am already making plans with HHVISA, VASH, Dr. Tarlow, and Waikiki district Councilmember Trevor Ozawa to make this a reality next year. As we all know the world we live in today is very different than it was in the 1990’s, and we must always be proactive when it comes to safety and security.
During his session with HLTA’s board of directors and members of HHVISA, Dr. Tarlow shared thought-provoking perspectives on the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas, the hurricanes in the Caribbean, Florida and Texas, and the ever-present threat from North Korea. Dr. Tarlow understands that strong security equals strong tourism, so it is of utmost importance that we continue to stay vigilant on this front. I always tout that Hawaii is one of the safest places in the world, which it is, but we all know that it only takes one major natural disaster or act of terrorism for our visitor statistics to plummet and for tourism in Hawaii to take a negative turn. This is why I believe now is the perfect time to gear up for another Visitor Crime Solutions Conference. Dr. Tarlow was on the same page as I was on this conference, and reiterated that Hawaii not only needs to be prepared for future risks and unforeseen challenges, but should also be a leader for tourism security across all of the Pacific Islands.
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