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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 9, 2002

Outrigger: Not clout but caring

By David Carey
President and CEO of Outrigger Hotels & Resorts

Much has been written about what some perceive as Outrigger's clout at the Legislature and the City Council. What perplexes me is that we seem to be criticized for our success in doing things that are good for our community, our employees, our industry and our business. Isn't that what we are supposed to do? I am proud of what we have supported:

  • We helped initiate the development of a Convention Center to serve our community and to diversify our visitor industry by bringing higher-spending business visitors to the Islands.
  • We have been one of the many to support the formation of the Hawai'i Tourism Authority and the creation of an adequate and reliable source of funding for Hawai'i's marketing efforts. The HTA has had its problems, but it has also accomplished much. It has put Hawai'i back on the competitive map in global tourism marketing.

On the HTA board, I have advocated strategies that benefit all segments of the visitor industry, not just hotels.

  • We have supported tax credits that will stimulate the investment of new dollars in our community. Hawai'i is a tough and expensive place to be economically successful. Without new investment, our community will wither.
  • We have focused on making the Waikiki Beach Walk project on Lewers Street a much-needed catalyst for the ongoing revitalization of Wai-kiki. The Beach Walk is about creating a future for our employees, creating jobs for construction workers, adding value to the city's real property tax base and increasing the demand for Waikiki that will increase taxes generated by hotels.

The project is a big and very risky undertaking that will need the support of many to have a chance of success. Without government support, including the potential use of condemnation, projects like Waikiki Beach Walk will not happen.

  • We have been consistent advocates of improving public education in Hawai'i. We must try to create a better place for our children.
  • We have supported improvements to countless laws, rules and regulations that make life better for business and our community.

If, in trying to do the right thing for our community, our employees and our guests, Outrigger is to be charged with having too much clout, then I would like the rest of the community to see it as I do — it is an honor to be charged with caring about our future.