"Lodging industry opposes tax hike," Honolulu Star-Advertiser
For those who may have missed this story, you can find it online here “Lodging industry opposes tax hike”.
I am quoted in the article stating that “the measure is unfair given the State Council on Revenues’ recent projection that this year’s tax collections would grow by $125 million, ‘thanks in large part to the tourism industry’s strength.’ ‘With such a large surplus making its way into state coffers … why are we adding an additional burden on our hotels and visitors?’”
Additionally, the article quoted several other members from across the industry including Jerry Gibson, area vice president of Hilton Hawaii and vice president and managing director of Turtle Bay Resort, who shared that “he fears if the bill becomes law, which would follow January’s 1 percent TAT increase, it could cause some tourists to rethink whether they can ‘really afford to come.’ ‘If we tip the scale, our greatest economic driver is in jeopardy.’”
Eric Gil, Local 5 Unite Here Secretary- treasurer, “said the union doesn’t support the final version because it believes it could have unintended consequences. ‘Nickel-and-diming undermines guest satisfaction,’ … ‘It affects tipping, and it could impact banquet bookings and other business.’”
Rick Egged, President of the Waikiki Improvement Association, “said the organization opposes ambiguity in the bill’s current version, which ‘defines resort fees as virtually anything that a hotel charges, which is not what TAT was meant to cover.’”
Our next step is a meeting with Governor Ige to share our concerns on this flawed measure. At this meeting we will be bringing the Governor an updated petition letter with additional signatures that have or will come in over the next couple days. Therefore, I would like to encourage all our members to please make one last push to your teams to sign on to our letter. Please send all additional petition forms to Jared Higashi of my staff at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 10:00 am on Monday, June 18th if you would like to be included.
As we head into the second half of 2018, we are starting to ramp up our efforts leading to the upcoming political elections. This year, we have invited the Waikiki Improvement Association, Retail Merchants of Hawaii, and the Waikiki Neighborhood Board to join us in hosting political forums for some of our high-profile races. At this point, we have two political forums that we are pleased to confirm.
We will start the election season with a Gubernatorial forum featuring candidates Governor David Ige and Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa which will take place at the Prince Waikiki on July 2nd at 10:30 am. The following week, we will host a Lieutenant Governor forum with candidates Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, State Senator Josh Green, State Senator Jill Tokuda, and former Board of Education member Kim Coco Iwamoto at the Prince Waikiki on July 13th at 10:30 am.
With advocacy as one of our major missions, it is imperative that we continue to bring these political educational opportunities to you. Therefore, I would like to encourage all of you to take advantage of these forums as they will serve as platforms for our candidates’ positions on the major challenges and issues facing the visitor industry.
Should you have any questions concerning these events, please feel free to contact Jared Higashi at email@example.com. If you would like to attend, I would highly encourage you to register, using the links below.
Strike Out Homelessness Bowling Tournament
A huge mahalo to everyone who spent a part of their Kamehameha Day helping us Strike Out Homelessness! Our first Oahu Charity Walk Bowling Tournament took place on Monday, June 11th at Aiea Bowl and it was an evening filled with fun, good eats (which Aiea Bowl is noted for), fellowship, and even included a country music karaoke competition.
In an effort to provide more financial assistance for organizations that work directly with the homeless on Oahu, HLTA teamed up with Salem Media to launch the inaugural bowling tournament. This year, Dependable Hawaiian Express (DHX) was the presenting sponsor of the event. Thank you to all the sponsor teams that participated this year:
1. Colliers International
2. Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa *
3. ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach*
4. Waikiki Resort Hotel *
5. Aqua-Aston Hospitality *
6. Outrigger Enterprises Group *
7. Interstate Restoration *
8. G4S Security
9. Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach *
10. HLTA Engineers Council *
11. TNT Tinting *
12. DHX *
13. Dave & Buster’s
14. Hoku Tours/Roberts Hawaii *
15. Lucky Strike Social Honolulu *
16. Soldier 2 Soldier
17. Teddy’s Bigger Burgers
18. Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club *
20. Country 97.5 *
*denotes recognition of HLTA members
At the end of the evening, Salem Media presented HLTA and the Visitor Industry Charity Walk with a $10,000 check that will go towards helping us combat homelessness . Mahalo to Dita Holifield, General Manager of Salem Media and her team for leading the charge on our successful bowling tournament. Of course, this fun-filled event would not have been possible without our generous donors, who contributed our prizes, and helped build excitement for all our attendees.
Mahalo to all our Bowling Tournament donors for your kokua!
‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach, ALSCO, Blue Note Hawaii, DFS T Galleria, DUKE’S Waikiki, Enterprise Rent a Car, Germaine’s Luau, Hampton Inn & Suites-Kapolei, Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach, Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites, LeSportsac Hawaii, Polynesian Cultural Center, Roberts Hawaii/Magic of Polynesia, Sea Life Park Hawaii, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, Sheraton Waikiki Resort/Rum Fire, Te Moana Nui at Princess Kaiulani, Waikiki Resort, and Zippy’s Restaurants.
TSURUTONTAN Opens in Waikiki
This past Wednesday , Jared Higashi and I had the pleasure of visiting the brand-new restaurant at the Royal Hawaiian Center, TsuruTonTan Udon Noodle Brasserie. For those who know me, I am an avid enthusiast of Japanese food, and I have to say that these udon noodles were some of the best I’ve ever had. The noodles are all made in-house, and they are served through a variety of interesting and flavorful dishes. On their pre-opening media day, I had the distinct honor of meeting the owners and management team, while sampling udon dishes mixed with flavors such as Truffle Crème with Crab and Mushroom, Uni (Sea Urchin), and a Poke inspired dish to name a few.
A big Hawaiian-style welcome to Waikiki to Takuma Lathrop, President, Dining Innovation USA West, Toshi Hayakawa, President, Dining Innovation North America & Europe, and the team at TsuruTonTan for the amazing foodie experience, as we welcome you to the Waikiki ohana. New York and now Hawai’i are the only two locations of this restaurant chain outside of Japan. Also, congratulations to Marleen Akau, Sam Shenkus, and Nani Hirosane of the Royal Hawaiian Center management team for the grand opening of another fabulous new restaurant at RHC.
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