Conference envisions Waikiki of the future - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Conference envisions Waikiki of the future

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

You really notice when you look back. Waikiki has changed a lot over the last 20 years.

"The beginning was Duty Free Shops, the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Royal Hawaiian Center, the big Lewers Street redevelopment. You could go on and on," said Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association.

A conference called Waikiki 2020 looked ahead at issues like accommodating a growing visitor base over the next two decades.

"Currently the inventory product that we have is dated and relatively small and doesn't meet those consumer needs," Kyo-ya Co. LLC president Greg Dickhens said. "We need to focus on building bigger products, better guest rooms, better amenities, and servicing those higher rated customers."

Egged said Waikiki needs more transportation options.

"The number one thing is we want to streamline the bus system into Waikiki. We want to create more pedestrian and bicycle access into Waikiki," he said.

The conference asked for community input. Waikiki resident Rachel Simmons singled out the homeless situation.

"I actually manage a property that has residents and guests that come to stay with us. That's the number one topic. They can't believe how many poor souls are sleeping on the stoops," she said.

Waikiki 2020 contributors will take information from the day-long meeting and develop a master plan for Waikiki.

"The idea is to stimulate thought and ideas for what that Waikiki of the future is going to look like," Egged said.

That future starts now.

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