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Letter to The Honorable Barack H. Obama, President of the United States of America

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

March 31, 2009

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The economic challenge facing our nation has imposed a significant impact on
domestic and international travel. Hawai'i's economy is largely dependent on tourism and the drop in activity has resulted in dramatic declines in our economy with a corresponding impact on businesses, including closures and job losses.

The State and our visitor industry have collaborated to cooperatively undertake many marketing programs aimed at stimulating travel to the islands. Through this effort, we have been successfhl in reducing the decline in visitor arrivals by offering lowerpriced and value-added packages for travelers. Despite the emphasis on and effort at market outreach and value-laden promotional offers, we ended 2008 with a decline of
10.8% in arrivals, which resulted in a loss of $1.2 billion in visitor expenditures.

Visitors who come to the islands for conventions, meetings and incentive rewards (CMI) are a very important part of our visitor mix. In 2008, these visitors totaled 442,000, representing about 7% of our total visitor arrivals.

There has been great concern, therefore, about the adverse effects caused by the well-intentioned efforts to address the problem of corporate excess and business travel for the companies who have received emergency finding from the government. It has caused a further downturn in CMI travel, especially for Hawai'i, where we have struggled to position our islands as a
place to do business, as well as a leisure vacation destination.

This current atmosphere that brands legitimate CMI travel as excess has resulted in 132 group cancellations of meetings and incentive trips to Hawai'i so far this year and next, representing a loss of 87,003 room nights. The total loss in direct revenue has been $58.8 million, amounting to an economic impact of $97.6 million in total lost output and 694 full- and part-time jobs from all of the visitor industry. Hawai'i's businesses and residents cannot afford to suffer such continued losses that can and should be avoided.

While we understand the need for balance, accountability and transparency in programs supported by government funding, tourism is an industry that employs many workers who have lost—and will continue to—lose their jobs as travel declines.

CMI travel is a cost-saving and effective tool that companies use to strengthen business relationships, align and educate employees and customers, and compensate employees for business performance.

In this period of economic downturn when our government and businesses are striving to restore economic stability, the last thing we should do is implement policies or encourage behavior that jeopardizes any industry, especially one that has such a farreaching impact on communities all across America.

We appreciate your recent comments encouraging travel and urge you to oppose any measure that would unfairly restrict the ability for companies to use CMI travel as a legitimate business tool.
Sincerely,

LINDA LINGLE SAM S R. "DUKE" AIONA, JR.
Governor Lieutenant Governor

MUFI HANNEMANN WILLIAM P. KENOI
Mayor Mayor
City & County of Honolulu County of Hawai'i

BERNARD P. CARVALHO, JR. CHARMAINE TAVARES
Mayor Mayor
County of Kaua' i County of Maui

Lloyd Unebasami John Monahan Joe Davis
Interim President & CEO President & CEO General Manager
Hawaii Tourism Authority Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau Hawaii Convention Center/SMG

Muffay Towill Carol Reimann George Applegate
President Executive Director Executive Director
Hawaii Hotel & Lodging Association Maui Hotel & Lodging Association Big Island Visitors Bureau

Susan Kanoho Terryl Vend Les Enderton
Executive Director Executive Director Executive Director
Kauai Visitors Bureau Maui Visitors Bureau Oahu Visitors Bureau

Jim Tollefson Randall Francisco Vivian Landrum
President & CEO President Executive Director
Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii Kauai Chamber of Commerce Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce

Pamela Tumpap Thos Rohr Kelvin Bloom
President President President — Aston Hotels & Resorts, LLC Maui Chamber of Commerce Kohala Coast Resort Association Chair — Hawaii Tourism Authority

Jerry Jamesson Eric Napoleon Clem Lagundimao III
General Manager General Manager General Manager
Aston Shores at Waikoloa Aston at Poipu Kai Aston at the Executive Centre Hotel
Chair — Big Island Visitors Bureau

Stephanie Nalani lona Sandi Kato-Klutke Mark D. Mrantz, CHA
General Manager General Manager General Manager
Aston at Waimea Plantation Cottages Aston Islander on the Beach Aston Ka'anapall Shores

Ray Blouin David Fladrick Clinton Owen
General Manager General Manager General Manager
Aston Kauai Beach at Makaiwa & Aston Aston Kona by the Sea Aston Mahana at Ka'anapali
Aloha Beach Hotel

Dennis Costa Michael A. Winchatz Brian M. Cox
General Manager General Manager General Manager
Aston Maui Hill Aston Pacific Monarch Aston Paki Maui Resort

Mark DeMello Michael A. Tasaka Earl T. Nakachi
General Manager General Manager General Manager
Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel Aston Waikiki Beach Tower Aston Waikiki Joy Hotel

Douglas Okada, C.H.A. Scott S. Fuchigami Brian DiMartino
General Manager General Manager President
Aston Waikiki Sunset Aston Waikoloa Colony Villas 21st Century Group

Michael Paulin Linda Chock, CTC Linda Zabolski
Chairman Director of Sales Owner/CEO
& Asian Pacific Marketing
Aqua Hotels & Resorts Bishop Museum Captain Zodiac

Randolph B. Ahlo Philip Richardson Maynard Torchiana
General Manager President Executive Vice President/General
Manager
Castle Resort & Hotels - Waikiki Shore Current Affairs - A Special Event Destination Resorts Hawaii, Inc.
Production Company

Kyoko Kimura Christof Luedi Ian Pullan
Managing Director Regional Vice President General Manager
Diamond Wailea Resort Sc Spa Fairmont Hotels Sc Resorts Hawaii The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

Thomas Steinhauer Edward Linsley Robert Nolan
Regional Vice President Resort Manager Resort Manager
Four Seasons Resorts Hawaii Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele

Mart Bailey Peter Shaindlin Laura Richards
Managing Director Chief Operating Officer General Manager
Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa Halekulani Corporation Hanalei Colony Resort

Leona PB. Duarte Jerry Gibson Robert Minicola
District Sales Manager Maui Area Vice President Regional Vice President of Operations
Hawaiian Airlines Hilton Hawaii HTH Corporation

Doug Sears Michael Jokovich David Lewin
General Manager General Manager General Manager
Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa

Philip Sammer Mike White Paul Homer
General Manager General Manager General Manager
Ilima Hotel Ka'anapali Beach Hotel Keauhou Beach Resort

Jak Ru Edward K. Rubennette Dan Banchiu
General Manager Vice President - North Asia, Hawaii & General Manager
King Kamehamehas Kona Beach Hotel South Pacific JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa
Marriott International, Inc.

Chris Tatum Rodney Ito Bill Countryman
General Manager General Manager General Manager
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

Elliot Mills Edgar Gum John Jaskula
General Manager General Manager General Manager
Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club Marriott's Maui Ocean Club

Steve Yannarell Chris Resich Kay Hampton
General Manager President & CEO President
Marriott's Waiohai Beach Club MC&A, Inc. Media Matters

Velma Hulihe'e-Carstensen W. David P. Carey III Priscilla Texeira
Sales & Marketing Manager President and CEO President
Morton's The Steakhouse - Honolulu Outrigger Enterprises Group Pacific Marketing Corporation

Mark Vinsko Dorm J. Takahashi Charlene "Charlie" Goodness
General Manager President Hotel Manager
Plantation Hale Prince Resorts Hawaii Maui Prince Hotel, Makena Resort & Golf
Courses

Keith Vieira Cheryl Williams Angela Vento
Senior Vice President and Director of Regional Vice President, Sales &
General Manager Operations
Hawaii & French Polynesia Marketing, Hawaii & French Polynesia Sheraton Kauai Resort
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Milton Sgarbi Craig Anderson Denise Wardlow
General Manager General Manager General Manager
The St. Regis Princeville Resort Westin Maui Resort & Spa Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

Gerald "Chip" Bahouth Ruth Limtiaco Teddi Anderson
General Manager Chief Executive Officer President
Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa The Lintiaco Company The Limtiaco Company

Jean Pierre Cerciliieux Thomas W. Donovan Douglas Chang
EVP & General Manager General Manager General Manager
The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua The Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences,
Kapalua Bay

Douglas Rucker Charlene Thompson Debbie Weil-Manuma
General Manager Executive Vice President President
The Whaler on Ka'anapali Beach Tihati Productions, Ltd. Well and Associates, Inc.

The Honorable Daniel K. Akaka
United States Senate

The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye
United States Senate

The Honorable Neil Abercrombie
United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Mazie K. Hirono
United States House of Representatives

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