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Travel // Tourism Matters
Mufi Hannemann

Another Great Visitor Industry Walk

Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association’s annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk enjoyed another exceptional year, as the number of walkers and money raised again set new records – with donations continuing to come in.

More than 12,000 walkers put their “best slippahs forward” to raise $1,371,955, so far, which will benefit more than 200 nonprofit organizations across the state. The event has raised more than $24 million for Hawaii charities since its inception in 1978.

Jerry Gibson, Charity Walk chairman and area vice president for Hilton Hawaii and managing director of Hilton Hawaiian Village, says, “This was a great day for Hawaii’s nonprofits and the individuals who will benefit from this record-setting gesture by the people and friends of our visitor industry. It was an unprecedented outpouring of kindness and kokua that exemplifies our aloha spirit. A big mahalo to all of the thousands of folks who participated and gave so generously.”

Across the state, 12,412 walkers on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii participated in the fundraiser, which took place throughout May. The Charity Walk was held on consecutive Saturdays, beginning May 5 with Lanai and Molokai, May 12 on Hawaii, Kauai and Maui, and concluding May 19 on Oahu.

Maui, which had 2,500 walkers, raised the most funds of any of the islands for the second consecutive year. Funds raised totaled $530,123, a new record. The Grand Wailea alone raised $100,001.

Oahu, which had the most walkers at 6,300, brought in the second-highest amount at $471,000. Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort raised more than $125,000, which included two Charity Walk benefit concerts on its Great Lawn.

Hawaii raised $194,266, Kauai brought in $151,551, Lanai $14,899 and Molokai $10,116.

Setting a fundraising record for the second year in a row was a wonderful statement on how much the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association and the visitor industry care about helping our communities. A lot of heart went into this event by Hawaii’s lodging industry and other members of our tourism community. The results of our collective efforts will make a positive difference to the hundreds of nonprofits that support people in need across the state.

Worthy of note is that the funds will be used to support local organizations engaged in charitable work, meaning the fundsraised here stay here.

Mary Scott-Lau, executive director of Women in Need, attested to the importance of the HLTA’s support: “The WIN staff and many of our former clients look forward each year to getting together in the aloha spirit and participating in the Visitor Industry Charity Walk. It’s a day of fun, friendship and thankfulness. We are so grateful for the HLTA contribution to Women In Need. We need more events like these to help sustain our much-needed programs!”

HLTA’s Visitor Industry Charity Walk was another demonstration of the visitor industry’s longstanding civic leadership and contributions to the betterment of our islands.

Darrin Sato, chief operations officer for KalihiPalama Health Center, adds, “The Visitor Industry Charity Walk has been great in assisting our Health Center with access to health care regardless of ability to pay. Thanks to their contribution, we were able to assist with approximately 950 prescriptions for those who were under/uninsured. This allowed us to help avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and reduce overall health care costs. We greatly appreciate their contribution.”

MUFI’S VISITOR HEROES
Cristiana Mamuad

Position: Housekeeper
Location: Outrigger Reef on the Beach

It’s easy to see why housekeeper Cristiana Mamuad of the Outrigger Reef on the Beach was honored as a housekeeper of the year at the annual Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association’s Na Po’e Pa’ahana awards ceremony.

A member of the Outrigger ohana for more than 30 years, Cristy’s demeanor, experience and aloha enable her to provide the highest caliber of hospitality. One of her duties is attending to the hotel’s many busy public area restrooms. She always manages to offer a greeting or smile to everyone around her, gives guests her undivided attention and pays special attention to elderly guests. She takes the initiative to keep areas spotless, earning her the praise of the managers and front desk staff. After seeing a TV news report about dirty ATMs, she promptly began cleaning all the machines on the property.

Cristy knows that she represents the Outrigger family, so she never hesitates to make guests feel welcome. She suggested to a couple visiting for their 25th anniversary that they participate in the hotel’s wedding vow renewal, which they did, and then found lei for them before the ceremony. It’s all in a day’s work for this outstanding employee.

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