This year’s Hawaii visitor industry Charity Walk initiative, sponsored by the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association (HLTA) as a benefit for local charities, raised more than $2 million, a new one-year record.
The various walks, held on the islands of Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Lanai, Molokai and the Big Island of Hawaii, featured participants from each the state’s six HLTA chapters, Hawaii hotels and a wide collection of businesses along with other several local sponsors. Oahu’s event, held earlier this month, included nearly 7,000 participants, beginning at Ala Moana Park in Honolulu and continuing through Waikiki.
“Donations are still rolling in,” said Mufi Hannemann, the HLTA president and CEO, who worked with his staff to coordinate the statewide fundraiser. “The Charity Walk is one way for us to thank the people of Hawaii for their support of our industry by raising money that will directly benefit local charities. Last year we helped 300 local charities, and we hope to kokua [help] more this year.”
The visitor industry charity walk dates to 1974 in Hawaii and since then the annual events have raise more than $30 million, according to the HLTA officials, who said all the donations stay in Hawaii and benefit local charities exclusively.
Founded in 1947, the HLTA is a nonprofit, statewide trade organization, representing 166 lodging properties across Hawaii that feature more than 50,000 guestrooms.