Charity walk money not for county projects

LIHUE — A nonprofit organization denied a Kauai County office’s application request to use money raised in a charity walk, officials from Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Authority told The Garden Island.

According to its application, the Kauai County Office of Economic Development applied to receive $15,000 from the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Authority Charity Walk “to continue implementation of the 2016-2018 Tourism Strategic Plan.”

That would be added to $10,000 in unused funds that’s been repurposed from the Kauai Visitors Bureau.

Mufi Hannemann, president of Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Authority, said he made it clear with Kauai County representatives that “they’re not eligible for this money.”

“HLTA charity walk (revenue) really goes to help nonprofit organizations with charitable objectives, like organizations that are trying to help physically challenged, seniors and youth,” Hannemann said.

He said HLTA supports the mission to continue the Tourism Strategic Plan, but “strategic plans don’t fall into that definition.”

“We support that mission, but it can’t be funded,” Hannemann said.

Nalani Brun, administrative officer for the Office of Economic Development, said the Tourism Strategic Plan is seen as a piece of the visitor industry realm within which HLTA works.

“The Kauai Tourism Strategic Plan, with its focus on mitigation and support for our Hawaiian culture and natural resources, amongst many other issues, is seen as an extension of that,” Brun said. “It is meant to serve as a guide, not just for the county, but for all of the stakeholders on how to move forward.”

She confirmed the department would be looking for other sources of funding to address the actions recommended in the Tourism Strategic Plan.

According to Brun, the rest of the funding for the Tourism Strategic Plan, which is in its second year of implementation, was a line item in the 2017 budget, but was nixed during discussions.

“It was eliminated with a note to try to get the funding from the visitor industry,” Brun said.

According to the application, the original Tourism Strategic Plan was paid for by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and done in 2006. That plan lasted until 2015.

Money from Kauai County allowed for updating the Tourism Strategic Plan for three years, as well as for the first year of implementation in 2015-2016. That created an action plan on priority issues.

According to the application, the Office of Economic Development requested money to support hiring a consultant to assist the department in making progress on Tourism Strategic Plan action plans.

The request also called for paying for the time of an existing Kauai planner to assist and support four to six committee meetings per month and provide minutes and updates to the plan.

In addition, money is needed for website and drop box upkeep and testimony mobilization to the County Council, Kauai Administration, and the Legislature.

The estimated cost for one year for the Kauai Planning and Action Alliance is $25,000.


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