LIHU‘E — Today, the “Hotels for Heroes” program begins at eight participating hotels on Kaua‘i, part of a statewide movement to offer hotel rooms free of charge to state and county first responders and health-care essential workers.
Some 33 hotels statewide are opening their rooms to these appreciated workers.
The program is sponsored and was created by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association and Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau.
To be eligible to stay at one of the participating hotels, participants must be first responders like paramedics, firefighters, police officers or health-care workers.
Points of contact for each of these groups can make reservations for those essential workers.
The idea sprouted into action after Chris Tatum, HTA president and chief executive officer, Mufi Hannemann, HLTA president and CEO, and John Monahan, HVCB president and CEO, wanted to develop the program in recognition of all of the first responders and health-care workers putting their lives on the front line during this pandemic crisis.
“We wanted to give relief to their mental state of mind and to their families,” said Hannemann in a telephone interview.
”As they go through their daily work endeavors, we can help elevate some of their stresses. We understand they are putting their lives, their wives, husbands, keiki and kupuna in harm’s way, so we wanted to help. We thought this was a good way to demonstrate aloha to them,” Hannemann said.
Hannemann said the program will be using state dollars that are normally seat aside for tourism. The funds will also help participating hotels put some staff members back to work.
“This is not the time for tourists to come to Kaua‘i, or Hawai‘i in general, so we can minimize the risk of COVID-19 spreading. As a former mayor (of the City & County of Honolulu), I understand the importance of our public safety across the board,” said Hannemann, also emphasizing the importance of the tourism industry to the Hawai‘i economy.
Morgan Moises Lopez, HLTA Kaua‘i executive director, said first responders and health-care providers put the community’s lives before theirs.
“The least we can do is make sure that they have the resources they need to do their jobs without worrying about their families being at risk,” Lopez said.
More info, contact the following participants:
• Health-care providers and professionals: Haley Hsieh, Healthcare Association of Hawai‘i;
• Kaua‘i Police Department: Capt. Elliot Ke;
• Kaua‘i Fire Department: Assistant Chief Solomon Kanoho;
• Emergency medical services: Dory Clisham, American Medical Response;
• State law enforcement (sheriffs, state Department of Land and Natural Resources, state Department of Transportation, state Department of Public Safety, state Department of the Attorney General): Deputy Attorney General Michael Vincent.
Participating Kaua‘i hotels are Banyan Harbor, Plantation Hale, Koloa Landing Resort, Kiahuna Plantation & Beach Bungalows (Castle Resorts & Hotels), The ISO, Sheraton Kaua‘i Coconut Beach in Waipouli, Kaua‘i Beach Resort near Hanama‘ulu, and Hilton Garden Inn Kaua‘i Wailua Bay.
Stephanie Shinno, features and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.