WAIKIKI, Hawaii - An estimated 7,000 walkers and volunteers participated on May 19 in the 40th annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk in Honolulu, sponsored by the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association. This Charity Walk was the final in a series that began May 5 on Lanai and Molokai.  Hawaii Island, Kauai, and Maui held walks on May 12.

The combined events raised a record $2.5 million statewide that will stay in Hawaii to benefit local charities; that figure is expected to grow as donations continue to come in.

Mufi Hannemann, HLTA president and CEO, says, “We’re absolutely delighted with the response to the Charity Walk. We continue to set record after record in our statewide fundraising efforts, thanks to the hard work of our hospitality industry family, the generosity of so many HLTA members and business sponsors, and the participation of public-spirited folks across our islands.

“What’s significant about the Charity Walk is that it’s the visitor industry’s way of thanking the community for its support by raising money that directly benefits the people of Hawaii. We take great pride in organizing this annual event and are gratified, once again, with the exceptional response.”

This year’s Charity Walk statewide chairperson is Glenn Vergara, general manager of the Waikiki Resort Hotel. The Charity Walk began in 1974 when the Hawaii Hotel Association, predecessor of the HLTA, organized a “super walk” to benefit a major charity. 

In 1978, the association expanded the event to be a statewide fundraiser for numerous local charities.  Since its inception, the Charity Walk has raised more than $28 million, including a record $2.7 million last year.