New Hilo Harbor security office to displace cruise ship greeters
A room set aside for welcoming cruise ship passengers at Hilo Harbor will be turned into a security office, permanently displacing a group of greeters who have waited four years to return to the space.
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story.
HILO >> A room set aside for welcoming cruise ship passengers at Hilo Harbor will be turned into a security office, permanently displacing a group of greeters who have waited four years to return to the space.
The “Aloha Room” was closed for renovations in 2012 as the terminal building at Pier 1 underwent a $5 million upgrade. Destination Hilo President Dinnie Kysar said the tourism group’s volunteers won’t be allowed to return to the space to greet passengers and hand out brochures due to the security office plans.
The greeters have been stationed underneath an awning near a taxi staging area since the renovations began, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.
“They have weathered four years outside in the expectation that any day we could be back in our Aloha Room space,” Kysar told members in an email last month. “This space is cool, provides a place for passengers to rest and find welcoming local volunteers to help them.”
Kysar said the room provided visitors with a place to sit and to view televisions displaying East Hawaii’s attractions.
Darrell Young with the Department of Transportation’s Harbors Division said Destination Hilo will still be able to have a greeting table inside the terminal building, but another Aloha Room is unlikely. He said a new security office is needed because the current one, which isn’t close to the dock and passengers, doesn’t meet Coast Guard requirements.
DOT had allowed Destination Hilo to use the former Aloha Room, but the tourism group did not have a written agreement or permit, Young said.
“It’s all informal,” he said. “I think it had to do with the spirit of aloha and spirit of Hawaii island.”
Destination Hilo has also been banned from passing out brochures under the Harbors Division’s rules on solicitation. The brochures are “something that has been overlooked,” Young said.
Despite the rule changes and being forced to move, Kysar said the group will try to make the best of the situation.
“We’re in there for the long run, and I appreciate what Harbors has done in the past,” she said.
It’s still unclear when the new security office will be complete.