Who will be in charge of promoting tourism to the Aloha State? The State agency in Hawaii is the Hawaii Tourism Authority under the leadership of Native Hawaiian President & CEO John de Fries.
He has put an enormous effort into shifting the huge marketing budget the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) had to promote tourism in North America awarding it to a Native Hawaiian nonprofit organization, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), enforcing Native Hawaiian Values on the future of the largest industry in the US State of Hawaii, Tourism.
Ever since John de Fries took the helm at HTA during the Coronavirus crisis, he worked on converting Hawaii from a sun and sea destination to a tourism destination that would focus on visitors respecting the Native Hawaiian Culture and getting away from massive arrival numbers to a selected group of visitors.
Leaders in the Hawaii Tourism industry were concerned and shared this concern – but not with the public.
Mike McCartney is head of the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT). He used to have de Fries job as head of HTA, and in his career focused on tourism with Aloha.
McCartney’s department also overlooks the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Yesterday Hawaii Governor Ige indicated, that he may veto the budget agreement allocated by the legislator for HTA.
Today McCartney issued the following statement:
The director of the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) Mike McCartney today issued the following update on Hawai‘i Tourism Authority RFP 22-01 covering the areas of brand management and visitor education services for the United States market, as well as support services shared by Hawai‘i’s brand management teams worldwide.
“As the Head of the Purchasing Agency for the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, I am responsible for overseeing the process for RFP 22-01 for the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA). The Hawaiian Islands are in the middle of the busy summer travel season and planning needs to be done for the upcoming fall period. Therefore, I have determined, with the concurrence of the State’s Chief Procurement Officer, that it is advantageous for the state to extend the current U.S. MMA contract with Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau for 90 days, until September 28, which should provide adequate time to resolve the current protest.
The three-month extensions of the two contracts, for U.S. market brand management ($4,250,000) and global support services ($375,000), continue the current level of services. After conferring with HTA President & CEO John De Fries, we agreed that granting this extension is in the best interest of our State and creates the necessary timeframe within which the protest can be resolved.
My ultimate goal is to provide for a fair and smooth transition in which the best partner for HTA is found. Because of my role in this process, I will be respectfully declining from further public comments until the protest is resolved and a new contract is awarded.”