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Kahe Wale – January 2024

What’s Happening Around Our Industry

ClimbHI Hosts First Career Exposure Event for 600 West Hawai‘i Students

Hawaiʻi workforce development nonprofit ClimbHI partnered with West Hawai‘i high schools and businesses to host the first-ever West Hawai‘i Exposure Fair on Hawai‘i Island from 8:30 a.m.-noon today at The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, reimagining and transforming the hiring process.


Over 600 students attended from schools across West Hawai‘i, including Kohala High School, Konawaena High School, West Hawai‘i Explorations Academy (WHEA), Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino, and Honoka‘a High School.


Exposure Fairs are a public-private effort designed by ClimbHI to provide students with information and connections and are followed throughout the year with additional relationship-building opportunities such ClimbHI Leadership Exploration Inspiration (LEI) and the ClimbHI Service Excellence Certificate, as well as events through ClimbHI’s Bridge portal and a ClimbHI Hiring Blitz closer to graduation. More than 60 businesses and organizations participated in the West Hawai‘i event, which allows students to rotate in 5-minute sessions.

Press Release ►

CocoNene Celebrates Opening of New Flagship Store at International Market Place

CocoNene, the beloved local brand known for its made in Hawaiʻi products that encapsulate the islands’ spirit and culture, has expanded its presence at International Market Place.


The new flagship location on Level 1 carries an expanded selection of the iconic and interactive products that have made CocoNene popular with residents and visitors, including home décor, wood wall art by local artists, and their signature Longboard Letters, which are customizable and reflect many facets of life in Hawaiʻi. In addition, the over 3000 square foot store features two exciting murals by popular local artist Jack Soren, complementing the four Soren artworks currently in place at International Market Place.


CocoNene at International Market Place will be open daily from 10am to 9pm.

Press Release ►

Havaianas Continues its Retail Expansion with Second Store in Hawaiʻi

Brazilian footwear brand, Havaianas announces the opening of its newest retail storefront located at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.


Following the opening of the Ala Moana store in July 2023 as the first store in Hawaiʻi, the 736 sq foot location will offer a variety of colorful sandals, accessories and beach necessities that enliven the year-round summer mindset that fuels the brand. The new Havaianas store is located conveniently on the first floor in the Pualeilani Atrium Shops of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa on one of the most iconic beach destinations in the world.

Press Release ►


Shoppers are invited to participate in a traditional Hawaiian store blessing performed by Kahu Kordell Kekoa and Grand Opening on Tuesday, January 23rd at 2:00pm. Immediately following, shoppers will receive a free gift with any Havaianas purchase until 6:30pm this day, while supplies last.

Register Here ►

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Board Names Mufi Hannemann as Chair

The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) Board of Directors elected longtime business executive and political leader Mufi Hannemann to serve as its new chair at a special board meeting today, with the appointment effective immediately. Educator and social impact entrepreneur Mahina Paishon will continue to serve as vice chair for the board.


Chair Hannemann has one of the most accomplished business, tourism and political backgrounds in modern Hawai‘i history, highlighted by his successful tenure as the former director of DBEDT, Honolulu mayor from 2005 to 2010, and the strong relationships he has established with leaders in the key sectors of Hawai‘i’s business community. Hannemann currently serves as president and chief executive officer of the Hawaiʻi Lodging and Tourism Association, a position he has held for a decade. He also currently serves as a member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB).

Press Release ►

Honolulu Cookie Company Unveils 2024 Heart of Aloha Collection

Love is Sweet! It’s the season of love, and we are sweetening it up with our 2024 Heart of Aloha Collection. There’s so much to love about our swoon-worthy selection of premium shortbread cookies. This Valentine’s Day, share the sweet moments with friends, family, and that special someone with a gift that speaks from the heart.

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OUTRIGGER Kā‘anapali Beach Resort Names Amber Tesoro as Director of Leisure Sales

OUTRIGGER Resorts & Hotels announced Amber Tesoro director of leisure sales at the iconic OUTRIGGER Kā‘anapali Beach Resort, situated on the sands of world-famous Kā‘anapali Beach on Maui.


Tesoro is responsible for the resort’s leisure and wholesale sales and will manage all sales activities to achieve desired results while maintaining and establishing relationships with key accounts.


Most recently destination sales executive at Wailea Beach Resort, Marriott, before that Tesoro was leisure sales manager at Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort; sales manager at Honua Kai Resort & Spa; and director of corporate marketing and events at Selling Source, LLC.

Press Release ►

Tammy Mencel to Step Down as PBN Publisher and Market President

Pacific Business News Publisher and Market President Tammy Mencel announced Thursday that she will be stepping down. Her last day will be Feb. 16.


"I want to share my sincere gratitude for the incredible 25 years I have had the privilege to work at American City Business Journals," said Mencel. "It has been a rewarding journey that started in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and brought me here to the place I love to call home. I am grateful for the opportunities, experiences and most of all the friendships I have been blessed with during my time here. I am proud of what we as the PBN ʻohana have accomplished as a team over the past eight years that I have been publisher and market president of PBN."

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In the News

ClimbHI Appoints New Director of Operations

ClimbHI, a workforce development nonprofit based in Honolulu, recently announced it has appointed Jen Gibo as its new director of operations. In her new role, Gibo will help lead ClimbHI's programs and day-to-day activities, including training educators and businesses, according to the announcement.


Gibo has more than two decades of management experience, and most recently served as a strategic account manager at the Hawaiʻi Medical Service Association. In her 7-year-long tenure at HMSA, she managed customer relationships, sustained retention and increased productivity and referrals, according to ClimbHI.

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The Royal Sonesta Kauaʻi Resort Līhuʻe Appoints New General Manager

The Royal Sonesta Kauaʻi Resort Līhuʻe — a beachfront resort located two miles from Līhuʻe Airport — recently announced it has appointed Jim Pedone as its new general manager, and Hannah Taito as resort manager.


Pedone has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He first joined the property in 2021, and most recently served as the resort's director of sales and marketing.


Taito previously served as director of rooms, and "her exceptional track record in optimizing room revenues and fostering guest satisfaction is poised to bolster the hotel's market position," according to the announcement.

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Mahalo for Your Kōkua to Mālama Maui

Maui Brewing Company’s Kōkua Project Generates $1.5M for Wildfire Relief Efforts

In response to the wildfire tragedies across the island of Maui, Maui Brewing Company spearheaded the Kōkua Project, a collaborative beer effort inspired by Sierra Nevada’s Resilience project of 2018 to raise money for those in need. Translated as “extending help to others” in the Hawaiian language, the Kōkua Project was touted as “one beer, brewed by many, to support the people of Maui”. Over 700 breweries across the United States and internationally participated in the project which began in late August to raise funds for the people of Maui.


Maui Brewing partnered with Global Empowerment Mission to facilitate the fiscal responsibilities for the Maui Brewing Company Fire Fund. While participating breweries were encouraged to send their donations to GEM, some breweries opted to donate to Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Makai Foundation, or other legitimate non-profit organizations including Legacy of Aloha. Legacy of Aloha benefits Maui Brewing and TS Restaurants teammates that have been displaced and lost their belongings and livelihoods. The two restaurant groups partnered for the largest impact. Across these collaborative efforts, the beer community has raised $3M for Maui’s relief efforts with $1.5M pledged through the Kōkua Project.

Press Release ►

Hawaiʻi Department of Transporation

State Airport Parking Rates Effective Feb. 1, 2024

The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) announces the following changes in parking rates for Kahului Airport (OGG), Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole (KOA), Hilo International Airport (ITO), and Lῑhuʻe Airport (LIH) will take effect on February 1, 2024.



The 15-minute grace period remains the same to support use of parking for community members dropping off or picking up passengers. Free airport cell phone parking areas also continue to be available for those picking up passengers.

Press Release ►

Industry Partner Opportunities

HVCB’s Industry Job Board

Have you posted your company's open positions to HVCB’s Tourism & Hospitality Job Board?


Jobseekers are able to browse listings by island or use a keyword search to find their best options. The Job Board is available to the public and is promoted through social media and our partner associations. 


Instructions on how to submit a posting can be found at


If you have any questions about the job board or trouble with your submission, please contact us at

Employment Opportunities

Join the HVCB ‘Ohana 

Interested in becoming a part of the Hawai‘i Visitors & Convention Bureau ‘Ohana? Check out the following open positions.

  • Membership Coordinator (Honolulu, HI)
  • Client Services Manager (Honolulu, HI)

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Awards & Recognition

Condé Nast Traveler Presents The Best Hotels and Resorts in the World: The Gold List 2024

Congratulations to HVCB Member, 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay, for being honored in the Condé Nast Traveler’s The Best Hotels and Resorts in the World: The Gold List 2024.


Kauaʻi’s 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay has all the ingredients you might want to cook up a truly magical Hawaiian getaway—a swimmable beach right out front, a legendary surf break a short paddle away, a stunning main pool (and a sleek adults-only one), great onsite bars and restaurants, a cute town nearby for exploring, and easy access to excellent hiking. But what makes this property truly stand out in an archipelago dotted with luxe oceanfront resorts is that it’s also a legitimate wellness destination, with cutting-edge medi-spa offerings as well as serious fitness and mind/body programming.
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Southwest Airlines Named the Top Airline for Job Growth and Opportunity by The American Opportunity Index

Southwest Airlines Co. is proud of its recognition as an Employer Honoree on the 2023 American Opportunity Index, a ranking that measures the effectiveness of companies in developing talent to drive business performance and advance individual Employees' careers. Southwest® ranked as the top airline on the Index for the second consecutive year.


"From our first flight in 1971 until today, it's our People that make Southwest the airline with Heart," said Elizabeth Bryant, Senior Vice President & Chief People Officer at Southwest Airlines. "My Southwest journey began 26 years ago as a Training Instructor, and I've loved supporting various Teams and diversifying my career in ways I never imagined since then. Southwest's dedication to fostering an environment that celebrates and empowers Employees creates continued learning and growth opportunities across all stages of careers."
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Hawai‘i’s World Class Events Calendar

Get a taste of some of the exciting annual events and festivals around Hawaiʻi. Discover delicious food, vibrant culture, thrilling sports and more. Please note that events are subject to change without notice.


For a complete and updated Hawai‘i calendar, please visit the link below.
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Ala Moana Center’s Lunar New Year Celebration

Ala Moana Center welcomes the Year of the Dragon with a family-friendly Lunar New Year Celebration featuring special store offerings, a limited-edition Gift with Purchase, Chinese calligraphy fortunes, lion and dragon dancing, lion pole jumping, and other cultural performances!

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Hotel Wailea Maui Presents The French Laundry

We are thrilled to announce an unforgettable experience that transports you to Napa Valley as Hotel Wailea hosts three-starred MICHELIN restaurant, The French Laundry with Chef Thomas Keller and Chef de Cuisine David Breeden, benefitting the Kōkua Restaurant & Hospitality Fund for Maui.


For two special evenings, the intimate dinners offer a nine-course Chef’s Tasting Menu, in collaboration with Hotel Wailea’s Executive Chef Ryan Cruz, and wine pairings highlighting the finest ingredients from California’s exceptional purveyors and producers alongside a taste of the island’s fresh and seasonal offerings from local farms and orchards.


When: February 23rd and 24th, 2024

Where: The Restaurant at Hotel Wailea


All proceeds from this event will benefit The Kōkua Restaurant & Hospitality Fund for Maui, providing essential support to West Maui restaurant, bar and hospitality workers. A silent auction featuring donations from fellow Relais & Châteaux properties will benefit The Kōkua Fund.
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Celebrate the Lunar New Year with International Market Place

Celebrate Year of the Dragon with lion dancing, calligraphy, stargazing and more on Saturday, February 10, 2024!


Receive a Honolulu Cookie Company Year of the Dragon Gift Box with any purchase of $150 or more in same day receipts. While supplies last. Void where prohibited.

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PATA and TTRA – 2024 Annual Outlook & Economic Forecast Forum


Thursday, February 8, 2024

7:45 am – 1:30 pm

Prince Waikīkī, Pi‘inaio Ballroom


With scheduled nonstop air seats to Hawai‘i expected to end the first quarter of 2024 about even with prior year levels, tourism indicators are not exactly "leaping off the page" heading into the new Leap Year. Will Hawai‘i's visitor industry shake off this early 2024 softness like a '24-hour flu as the year progresses with a possible "soft landing" for the U.S. economy and green shoots of recovery in travel from Asia/Oceania? Find out how our line-up of experts think it will all sort out. In addition to the annual economic and tourism forecasts, this year’s forum features a panel of experts to provide insight into the international market; and an update on Hawai‘i’s air service outlook.

For More Information ►

Register Here ►

Kahe Wale Content

HVCB is happy to accept your feedback, stories, content and news for our Industry Updates issue of Kahe Wale. Please send Kahe Wale feedback and submit newsletter content to or complete online form here by the end of day on Friday, February 9, 2024.

Submit a Member Testimonial

The success of HVCB is built on our partnership with you, and we want to hear from you! We would love to have your thoughts on the value you find in your HVCB membership. Please note that your member testimonial may be shared on our website and HVCB collateral. We appreciate your support!  

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Karen Wataru Nakaoka

Sr. Director, Member and Community Engagement  




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