Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Last of the Lei at HNL International

It was announced late last week that the Hawaii Tourism Authority had cut the $450,000 it set aside for greeters at Honolulu International Airport.

Honolulu was the last of the state’s major airports to have the song and hula programs that were first introduced three years ago to make positive impressions on arriving and departing visitors, and now, the Tourism Authority has decided to allocate that money to its airline development program. It will use the money to support cooperative programs with airlines designed to sustain or increase air seats to Hawaii.

Reviews for the Lei greeting program have always been wonderful.  However, due to budget restrictions (isn't it always about the money), the Tourism Authority was forced to cut funding for greetings contractors at airports on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island last fall.

This is a real shame for Honolulu International Airport.  Some of my fondest memories in Hawaii are of arriving at the airport and being given a beautiful flower lei - although I must admit it was never a random greeter at the airport!  The good news is that the lei stands at the airport where you can purchase fresh leis are still going strong.  If you are picking someone up from the airport, be sure to check out the beautiful hand-made leis and surprise your guest with some Hawaiian tradition and a warm aloha.

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