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The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association (MHLA) today announced it has expanded its “I Work for Aloha” public awareness campaign for 2009. The organization will use print and radio to heighten awareness of the connections between the visitor industry and the average county resident. Nearly half of all jobs in Maui County are directly tied to the visitor industry, and thousands more supply visitors with goods and services.

The campaign, crafted by Kahului-based advertising agency Gilbert & Associates, features island residents from a variety of vocations – from farmers and accountants to bus drivers and food workers – with the message that “family, friends, neighbors and likely you” are connected to the county’s visitor industry.

“Tourism is everyone’s business,” said Carol Reimann, MHLA’s executive director. “It’s not just hospitality employees. There’s a symbiotic relationship with nearly the whole community. A healthy, robust visitor industry benefits our entire county, and it’s now – during these tough economic times – that it’s more important than ever that we support each other.”

The visitor industry is the economic engine for the island and directly encompasses approximately 40% of all jobs in Maui County.

The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association is a nonprofit organization founded in 1987 to advocate for the Visitor Industry. MHLA’s membership is comprised of visitor accommodations and allied businesses in the County of Maui. The organization also provides educational opportunities via the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism and scholarship grants, and benefits the community via the annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk, Excellence in Education golf tournament and Kupuna Dinner.

For an interview with Carol Reimann, call 808-244-8625.

Gilbert & Associates (gilbertadvertising.com) has provided award-winning marketing, public relations, advertising and creative services for clients throughout the Aloha State and beyond since 1974. Clients include The Shops at Wailea, First Wind (formerly UPC Wind Hawaii), C.B.Richard Ellis, The Shops at Mauna Lani, Kukui Grove and Princeville at Hanalei. For more information, call or visit the website.

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