Our Military Is A Force In Tourism
May 25, 2011 Hawaiian Airlines Discount Share
The military is Hawaii’s second largest economic force, with spending totaling roughly $8.8 billion a year (as of 2009), just behind tourism according to state government figures. That’s why, as a City Councilman and later as mayor of Honolulu, I established military affairs committees, consisting of public officials and military commanders, to work on shared goals and problems requiring collaboration.
Armed forces personnel and their families are important contributors to our community, as friends and neighbors, co-workers, customers of local businesses, public-spirited citizens who support worthy causes, and more. They’re involved in public safety, responding to emergencies such as search-and-rescue operations or natural disasters.
They also contribute to our number-one industry, tourism. From a travel perspective, active duty personnel, their families and retirees are tourists. They visit Hawaii from other places, on vacation or for business, just like other travelers. They enjoy the sun, sand, sea, surf and our spirit of aloha, just like other travelers. And they support local businesses, just like other travelers.
Furthermore, the military has a direct or indirect role in the visitor industry through its connection to some of Hawaii’s top attractions. On Oahu, the USS Arizona Memorial and related Pearl Harbor historic sites, under the National Parks Service, are major stops on every visitor’s itinerary. Nearby, the Battleship Missouri Memorial and the new Pacific Aviation Museum make their home at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor, thanks to the Defense Department. The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, or Punchbowl, is the final resting place of those citizen-soldiers who defended our nation, as well as a top destination.
Considering the importance of the armed forces to our state, every effort should be made to reach out to the military to let them know we appreciate their service and to build partnerships with each branch on matters of common interest.
Outrigger Enterprises President and CEO David Carey and his staff are actively involved in promoting a close relationship with the military. David is a long-time supporter of the Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee. He demonstrates that support in the company’s operations, where key personnel are assigned to handle matters involving the armed forces. Outrigger goes so far as to donate excess furniture to military families moving to Hawaii for the first time.
May is Military Appreciation Month, and I encourage you to show your appreciation.
MUFI’S VISITOR HEROES
Raul “Flip” Herrera
Position: Maintenance Journeyman
Location: Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
Raul “Flip” Herrera is deemed the “go-to guy” for the maintenance needs of the Princess Kaiulani, a Waikiki landmark. An air-conditioning specialist by training, Flip has expanded his expertise to include boiler and steam systems by attending school and shadowing outside experts to hone his skills. He applied that know-how to maximize the efficiency of the hotel’s boilers, saving thousands of dollars in utility costs in the process.
He recently made emergency repairs that prevented major water damage, a typical response for an employee who makes himself available around the clock. Flip also deals directly with guests’ needs, impressing one guest so much that he promised to return to the Princess Kaiulani rather than a stay at a vacation condo, his customary vacation accommodations.
Flip has earned performance awards many times for the caliber of his work. He takes this same spirit into the community, helping neighbors and donating his time and money to installing air-conditioning systems for churches across the state.
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