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New Hawaii Tourism Vision is Economic Suicide, but not pono to”talk stink”

Hawaii Tourism Authority responds to latest version of HB862
John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority

Forget the COVID-19 crisis, record COVID death and statistics in Hawaii. Forget tourism arrivals that peaked two weeks ago and is back on its knees now.
The most important discussion for the Hawaii Tourism Authority is how to discourage travel and dream of a Hawaiian way of life that has not been sustainable for decades. Is there a death wish for tourism in the Aloha State?

  • While Tourism Boards in most regions in the United States and the world are desperate to find a way to welcome more visitors, sustain the industry, the Hawaii Tourism Authority seems to be thinking of ways to discourage this sector nstead.
  • It may not appear like the Hawaii Tourism Authority is the State agency funded by Hawaii taxpayers and in charge for the health and promotion of theHawaii travel and tourism industry.
  • Tourism is the largest industry in Hawaii. Most of the 1.6 million people living in the 50th US State depend directly or indirectly on the visitor’s industry.

Ever since September 9, 2020, all communication stopped at HTA. On September 9 was the day Mr. John de Fries became CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Ever since September 9, 2020, there was no guidance, no relevant statements in regards to COVID and tourism. Millions in taxpayers’ money, HTA failed to take ownership of the crisis on behalf of the State of Hawaii and its people.

Phones at HTA had been ringing since March 2020, with no one to talk to. This publication was not able to ever speak to Mr. de Fries.

Mr. de Fries not once attended a press event, made any statements that would have helped and encouraged visitors, except for releasing statistics and making announcements to discourage visitors.

HTA turned into this distance agency where people dream about Hawaiian culture, mother earth, and fight over-tourism at times there is no tourism.

Discussing environmental issues, over-tourism, native Hawaiian, and cultural tourism are very important issues in regular times. Perhaps HTA may not have noticed. We’re sailing through the worst emergency the travel and tourism industry ever faced.

eTurboNews reached out to stakeholders in Hawaii, including hotel groups, restaurants, shops. Comments, if any are only off the record. No one wanted to say something. Do not talk stink !

Mufi Hannemann is currently the President & CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. He served as the 12th mayor of the City & County of Honolulu, the 13th largest municipality in the United States. Mr. Hannemann never returned any calls, emails or social media messages to ever since COVID-19 started

Do not Talk Stink!

This is the Hawaiian way!

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has been busy and made great achievements in the Malama Kuu Home talk.

Here is what Mr. de Fries says about Malam Kuu:

Translated, “caring for my beloved home” is a visceral affirmation for me personally; while it acknowledges the inherent capacity for human beings to feel rooted to and responsible for their places of origin or places where they reside and call home.

Beset now by a global pandemic and economic collapse, Hawaiʻi faces a myriad of daunting challenges – among them, the reopening of our tourism industry, at a time when immense and growing anxiety can be felt in our local communities and throughout our State.

The radiance of hope, however, is found in the resilience and creativity of Hawaiʻi’s leaders in both the public and private sectors; and I respectfully recognize the aunties, uncles, parents, kūpuna, youth, coaches, teachers, ministers, etc. – who are on the front lines daily searching for immediate and mid-range solutions, for their families, neighborhoods, schools, churches, small businesses, non-profits, and corporations. Essentially, these independent actions that are occurring daily from Polihale, Kauaʻi to Kumukahi Point on Hawaiʻi Island all embody the spirit and essence of Mālama Kuʻu Home – because regardless of our ethnic backgrounds, the foundational principle of “caring for my beloved home” is embedded in our individual being and collective DNA.

Hawaiʻi’s pathway to economic recovery and enhanced community well-being will require unprecedented levels of focus, collaboration, cooperation, coordination, and unified executive leadership throughout all sectors.

Mālama Pono.

Unfortunately, this important discussion, beautifully presented studies, short videos, and presentations will not solve the COVID-19 tourism crisis for the state. The wellbeing of residents, including the many homeless people, welfare cases, and others rely on the money generated by the travel and tourism industry.

Hawaii Tourism Authority Announces Resumption of Kukulu Ola and Aloha Aina Programs 15 September 2021

 The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) has announced that it is resuming its Kukulu Ola and Aloha Aina programs and seeking proposals from the community. HTA has issued two Request for Proposals (RFPs) to provide funding support to qualified nonprofit organizations and programs that will perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and preserve natural resources in 2022.

HTA Publishes Community-Based Tourism Management Plan for Oahu, 31 August 2021

 The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) has published the 2021-2024 Oahu Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP), a guide to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism on Oahu. The community-based plan is part of HTA’s work toward Malama Kuu Home (caring for my beloved home) and its accelerated efforts underway to manage tourism in a regenerative manner.

Hawaii Governor David Ige Urges Residents, Visitors To Curtail Non-Essential Travel

Gov. David Ige today called upon Hawaii residents and visitors to delay all non-essential travel through the end of October 2021 due to the recent, accelerated surge in COVID-19 cases that is now overburdening the state’s health care facilities and resources.

 The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) announced today its pivot to become a more effective destination management organization and the promotions of two key executives who will help guide the initiatives outlined in HTA’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.

Hawaii Tourism Authority Announces Reorganization Toward Destination Management Including Two Executive Promotions July 26, 2021

HTA has comprehensively reorganized its structure and operations to support the goal of Malama Kuu Home (caring for my beloved home) through the principles of regenerative tourism. HTA is committed to empowering the community to have a greater voice in tourism’s future, with an emphasis on restoring the environment, perpetuating the Hawaiian culture, recognizing Hawaii’s multiethnic cultures, and supporting responsible economic outcomes.

Hawaii Tourism Authority Supports Program to Mitigate Visitor Impacts at Pololu Valley on Hawaii Island, July 9 ,2021

Pololu Valley is a majestic and historical area in North Kohala on Hawaii Island. Recently, there has been a rapid increase of visitors to the Pololu Lookout, Trail, and coastal shoreline, and there is a growing need to mitigate the impacts to the community and natural and cultural resources.

Hawaii Tourism Authority is Working to Mitigate Visitor Impact on Road to Hana, July 8 ,2021

 – The scenic road to Hana, officially known as Hana Highway, is one of the top points of interest for visitors to Maui, which has resulted in traffic congestion caused in part by illegal parking and unsafe pedestrian crossing along the highway. To help alleviate the situation for Hana residents, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) continues to work with Maui County officials and other state agencies, and is also strongly advising visitors to join a tour from a permitted tour company instead of driving on their own or visiting other areas on Maui.

Hawaii Tourism Authority Supports Merrie Monarch Festival Broadcast and Pop-Up Makeke, July 1, 2021

– The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is proud to support the broadcast of the 58th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival and Season 3 of the Pop-Up Makeke that will air during the festival. This is the 11th year that HTA has been a sponsor of the Merrie Monarch Festival. Hawaiian culture is one of HTA’s four pillars in its 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, which is also translated into Olelo Hawaii.

HTA Releases Results from 2021 Resident Sentiment Survey, June 24,201

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) released the results of its Spring 2021 Resident Sentiment Survey during its June Board of Directors meeting today. The survey found that while many are concerned with the visitor industry’s growth, the majority of Hawaii residents believe that tourism is worth the issues associated with the industry.

Hawaii Tourism Authority Launches Educational Malama Hawaii Campaign, June 1, 2021

 Hawaii is inviting travelers to experience the Hawaiian Islands on a deeper level with a greater emphasis on connecting with our culture, giving back to the destination and preserving it for the future, while following safe health practices. That is the message behind a series of poignant and educational videos being played to visitors before and after they arrive in Hawaii. It is part of the Malama Hawaii marketing campaign, which was recently launched through a partnership between the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB).

Hawaii Tourism Authority Board Selects George Kam To Serve As Chair, April 30,2021

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) Board of Directors selected George Kam as its new chair during yesterday’s monthly board meeting. He previously served as its vice-chair. Kam is an active community leader and is a former executive in the surf industry.

“We are in a time of ‘huliau’ or transformative change. This is our time to find solutions towards a pono traveler that balances the opportunities of tourism and the challenges it presents our community. Tourism can be the catalyst to improve the quality of life for all the people of Hawaii. Finding balance is the razor’s edge, the width of a blade of pili grass,” Kam said. “I look forward to working with the community, our elected leaders, the HTA team and HTA board to find that balance.”

HTA Responds to Latest Version of HB862, April 9, 2021

John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), issued the following statement responding to the Hawaii Senate Committees on Ways and Means and Commerce and Consumer Protection for using a last-minute gut and replace maneuver to pass a bill that dramatically alters how Hawai‘i’s tourism agency will represent the state and its efforts to collaborate with the community and reset tourism in a regenerative manner.

HTA Publishes Community-Based Tourism Management Plan for Hawaii Island, April 1, 2021

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) has published the 2021-2023 Hawaii Island Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP). It is part of HTA’s strategic vision and continuing efforts to manage tourism in a responsible and regenerative manner. It was developed by the residents of Hawai‘i Island, and in partnership with the County of Hawaii and the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB). The DMAP serves as a guide to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism on Hawaii Island. It identifies areas of need as well as solutions for enhancing the residents’ quality of life and improving the visitor experience.

HTA Publishes Community-Based Tourism Management Plan for Maui Nui, March 4, 2021

 The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) has published the 2021-2023 Maui Nui Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP). It is part of HTA’s strategic vision and continuing efforts to manage tourism in a responsible and regenerative manner. It was developed by the residents of Maui, Molokai and Lanai, and in partnership with the County of Maui and Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau (MVCB). The DMAP serves as a guide to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism on the three islands that make up Maui Nui. It identifies areas of need as well as solutions for enhancing the residents’ quality of life and improving the visitor experience.

“All credit goes to the people of Lanai, Molokai and Maui who committed themselves to the DMAP process and were willing to face tough issues, embrace diverse viewpoints, explore new ideas and identify actionable priorities. The DMAP process provides a collaborative framework within which participants are inspired to ‘malama’ – to care for, nurture and protect the places and traditions they cherish most,” said John De Fries, HTA’s president and CEO

HTA Publishes Community-Based Tourism Management Plan for Kauai, February 5, 2021

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) has published the 2021-2023 Kauai Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP). It is part of HTA’s strategic vision and continuing efforts to manage tourism in a responsible and regenerative manner. Developed by the residents of Kauai, and in partnership with the County of Kauai and Kauai Visitors Bureau, the DMAP serves as a guide to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism on the Garden Island. It identifies areas of need as well as solutions for enhancing the residents’ quality of life and improving the visitor experience.

The community-based plan focuses on key actions that the community, visitor industry and other sectors deem necessary over a three-year period. The actions are organized by the four interacting pillars of HTA’s Strategic Plan – Natural Resources, Hawaiian Culture, Community and Brand Marketing:

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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