38th Annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk
“A tradition of giving. We’re all in this together.”
That was the theme for the 2016 Visitor Industry Charity Walk that was held on Saturday, May 14 at Waikoloa Beach Resort. The annual 3.1-mile run, walk (and snack) event was created by the Hawai`i Lodging and Tourism Association in 1978 as a way for the visitor industry to “walk the walk,” and give back to community.
Since then it has grown into a major fundraiser statewide, generating over $28 million in the last 37 years. In 2015 alone, 11,200 walkers raised over $1.8 million to help local charities, with funds raised on the island remaining on the island to support numerous non-profit groups and noteworthy causes.
Hotel and resort properties from across the island enjoyed the friendly competition of Charity Walk, challenging each other to win the race, bring out the most participants, raise the most money, and serve up the best food. In addition, those chosen as beneficiaries supported the runners and walkers with aid stations along the scenic route from Queen’s MarketPlace to Kings’ Land by Hilton Grand Vacations, and back to Waikoloa Bowl.
“The Visitor Industry Charity Walk is something we in hospitality look forward to every single year,” said Rob Gunthner, Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association- Hawaii Island Chapter Chair. “But it’s not just for hospitality workers ... anyone can participate. We love it when visitors walk along with us, then join us over in the Bowl for some great music, entertainment, and outstanding food by our Waikoloa Beach Resort restaurants.”
Participants of all ages enjoyed the morning exercise and the after-event atmosphere on the expansive lawn of Waikoloa Bowl where 20-plus food stands were found, along with entertainment by DJ Tiger and Beyond Paradise, and a live radio broadcast by DC from B93, Eddy O with Native FM, and more.