Waikiki’s Aloha Ambassadors
Wednesday - August 29, 2007
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Just as Waikiki has been going through great changes, the Waikiki Business Improvement District Association (WBIDA) has also been undergoing transitions, as well.
We moved to a new, larger location in the renovated Wyndham Waikiki Beach Walk on Lewers Street Aug. 1, and launched a new Hospitality Program in July.
And this is just the start of more exciting things to come, as WBIDA - a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation - works to continue its mission of “enhancing the quality of life in Waikiki by providing its businesses, visitors, employees and residents with a clean, safe and enjoyable environment to live, work and play!”
We strive to have a community that is a vibrant resort destination and reflective of its Native Hawaiian heritage, which is welcoming and “user-friendly” to kama’aina and visitors alike.
WBIDA’s recently launched Hospitality Program has introduced a new, friendly and helpful presence in Waikiki, known as “Aloha Ambassadors.”
We currently have 14 trained ambassadors who serve as hosts of Waikiki each day. Highly visible in their bright “safety green” uniform shirts, Aloha Ambassadors canvas the Waikiki corridor and beach on foot or bicycle providing a variety of services, including providing directions or answering questions about Waikiki, reporting crimes or “quality of life” concerns, providing an effective “street presence” to deter crime, administering first aid, and even picking up litter.
WBIDA has retained Block-by-Block - a company that specializes in providing services for business improvement districts across the country - to operate the Aloha Ambassador program. All ambassadors are trained to meet the public’s need for information and assistance, and to deliver genuine hospitality to residents and visitors to enhance the overall Waikiki experience.
Aloha Ambassadors are chosen based on their personalities and natural aloha spirit, and are trained with the skills to become effective ambassadors. They are like having a local friend for first-time visitors, and a quality of life support system for residents who work, live and play in Waikiki. The ambassadors have diverse backgrounds and range in age from 19 to 74, and some are bilingual, and one is even trilingual. However, their common thread is their aloha and willingness to help people.
So, next time you’re in Waikiki, please look out for our Aloha Ambassadors and request their assistance, if needed.
WBIDA’s motto, Malama Waikiki - “caring for Waikiki” - is something the organization and all of its members - Waikiki’s commercial property owners - take very seriously. This encompasses a love for our land, aloha ‘aina; caring for the land, malama ‘aina; safe passage, palekana, and hospitality, ho’okipa.
We believe our Aloha Ambassadors will help us foster this mission, and are extremely proud of operations manager Gilbert Biaquis, team leaders Cary Math, Gary Johnson and Richard Flores, and our wonderful team of ambassadors.
The WBIDA, comprised of assessed property owners and tenants, was formed to manage the Waikiki Business Improvement District (WBID) in September 2000. The City and County of Honolulu, theHonolulu Police Department, the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office, the Honolulu City Council and the Waikiki Improvement Association (WIA) all took active roles in the organization’s creation.
In addition to Security/Hospitality service programs, they also developed Streetscape Maintenance in March 2001.
Next Week: Susan Doyle, Aloha United Way
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