Aloha Ambassador assisting tourists in
Successful travel agents bend over backward to help clients line up
a fail-safe Waikiki getaway. Still, no matter how much advance
legwork is done ahead of time, wouldn’t it be nice to have a
guardian angel watching over those clients once the vacation
They do, thanks to a new initiative from the Waikiki Business
Improvement District Association (WBIDA). Called Aloha Ambassadors,
the program launched in July consists of 14 people whose sole goal
is to share information, assistance and hospitality to the visitors
and residents of the one-square-mile destination.
“We launched the Aloha Ambassadors program to provide a visible,
friendly and helpful presence in the Waikiki corridor,” said Jan
Yamane, executive director of WBIDA.
“In Waikiki, we really want the aloha spirit to pervade, and we
want our visitors and residents to feel safe,” said Yamane. “We
would like them to know that they have someone who can help them
with their daily needs and requests, the way a good friend
Aloha Ambassadors pose in front
of Waikiki Beach.
Garbed in bright green uniform shirts and armed with ready smiles,
the Aloha Ambassadors stand out in a crowd. Traveling the streets
and sands of Waikiki on bicycle and foot, they assist the public
with directions and inquiries about the district, its businesses
and its services.
They respond to calls concerning specific incidents, from
suspicious persons to first-aid situations. They even escort people
to their vehicles when safety becomes an issue.
The Aloha Ambassadors range in age from 19 to 74. Some speak two
languages fluently and one speaks three, but all of them have been
selected based on their outgoing personalities and willingness to
With 70,000 people visiting Waikiki on an average day, the Aloha
Ambassadors create a reassuring street presence, monitoring and
deterring criminal activities in parking facilities and other
public areas. They report quality-of-life concerns to appropriate
agencies, complete concise daily incident reports and follow up
with other agencies to resolve problems.
“This is a great free service that travel agents can talk about
with their clients who come to Waikiki to make them feel safer and
more at ease,” said Yamane. “Clients can easily spot one of our
ambassadors and stop to ask them a question or request
At press time, WBIDA was planning to provide all of the Aloha
Ambassadors with handheld PDAs to further improve their efficiency.
It’s hoping to place life-size cutouts of the ambassadors at
baggage claim areas in the Honolulu International Airport to remind
arriving passengers that the service awaits them in Waikiki.
Formed in September 2000, the nonprofit WBIDA is made up of
commercial property owners and tenants in the area. Appropriately
enough, the group chose as its motto Malama Waikiki (Caring for
“We believe our Aloha Ambassadors will help us foster this
mission,” said Yamane.
Waikiki Business Improvement District
2255 Kuhio Ave., Suite 760
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815