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HTA Board of Directors Visit the Island of Kauai
In February, the HTA was on the ‘Garden Island’ for its monthly board meeting. This opportunity provided the board a better understanding of the island’s unique attributes, issues and initiatives relating to Kauai’s visitor industry.
Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. briefed the board on the status of Kauai’s visitor industry and initiatives the county is taking to ensure its sustainability. He stressed the importance of refreshing Kauai’s infrastructure and public facilities so that visitors can have a positive experience when visiting the island’s parks and beaches.
The Kauai Visitors Bureau (KVB) executive director, Sue Kanoho, and KVB board chair, Ray Blouin, of Aston Aloha Beach Resort were also in attendance and provided the board with an update on how the support of the HTA has been benefiting the island.
An issue facing the island in recent years, has been ocean safety involving visitors. Kauai Fire Chief Robert Westerman; Pat Durkin of the Kauai Lifeguard/WAVE Program; Monty Downs, president of the Kauai Lifeguard Association; Sharon Edwards of Life’s Bridge; and Sue Kanoho of the KVB briefed the HTA on issues and data surrounding ocean safety involving visitors and efforts to educate the public.
During their visit to Kauai, the HTA also honored Stella Burgess, or “Aunty Stella,” as she was known to most, who passed away in February. As the cultural advisor at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, Aunty Stella was instrumental in organizing numerous festivals and events, including the Aloha Festivals, and was a spiritual leader for the visitor industry and the island of Kauai.
“Aunty was such an important figure on the island of Kauai,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “She was instrumental in finding a balance and bridging the Hawaiian community and the visitor industry, and was such a great example of what it means to be ‘pono.’ She will be greatly missed by all of the lives she touched.”