comscore Hawaii public safety conference will address COVID-19 and homelessness | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Hawaii public safety conference will address COVID-19 and homelessness

Tourism leaders, elected officials, law enforcement and others are gearing up to address a variety of safety and security issues faced by Hawaii’s travel industry, including COVID-19 and homelessness.

The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, along with its partners, will host its third annual Visitor Public Safety Conference in a virtual format on March 16.

“The overall health and safety of our visitors, workers, and local residents has always been a top priority of our organization,” HLTA President &CEO Mufi Hannemann said in a statement. “As we start to re-open tourism, it is important that public safety issues are kept at the forefront and that we continue to explore short- and long-term solutions.”

The first HLTA Visitor Public Safety Conference was in response to heightened concerns following several high-profile Waikiki crimes at the end of 2017, including a violent attack on military personnel that resulted in a death. In 2017, the tourist district had four slayings, surpassing the total for 2015 and 2016 combined.

Rick Egged, Waikiki Improvement Association president, said previous public safety conferences were productive and have helped curb crime in the state’s top tourism district.

“In the past, the conference has led to improvements such as adding more security cameras to Waikiki and a commitment from HPD to increase their work in regard to crimes by juveniles,” Egged said.

Hannemann said this year’s conference will feature speakers including Lt. Gov. Josh Green, HI-EMA Major General Kenneth Hara, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, and Honolulu Police Department Chief Susan Ballard, who will be discussing topics ranging from COVID-19 to homelessness.

The event, which takes place from 8 a.m. to noon on March 16, is also supported by the Hawai‘i Hotel Visitor Industry Security Association, the Waikiki Improvement Association, the Waikiki Business Improvement District Association, Retail Merchants of Hawai‘i, and the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawai‘i.

Registration is $10 per person. Registration fees will be waived for government and nonprofit employees, who register at submissions@hawaiilodging.org.

To register, visit tinyurl.com/2xujh94s .

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