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A Legacy of Aloha

On behalf of the HTA board of directors and staff, I would like to extend a warm aloha and mahalo to Mike McCartney, who left the HTA on Nov. 20 to become chief-of-staff for Governor-elect David Ige. 
Having served as the HTA president and CEO since 2009, Mike has helped to lead Hawaii’s visitor industry from economic downturn to a robust recovery with year-over-year record-breaking visitor arrivals and spending. The success of our tourism economy over the past five years is a testament to his leadership and collaboration. 

His extensive government and legislative experience has been effective in advocating the passage of legislation that permanently set the transient accommodation tax (TAT) at 9.25 percent; allocated funding to establish the Hawaiian Center for Music and Dance at the Hawaii Convention Center; and created financing opportunities to preserve the conservation easement at Turtle Bay. 
Mike was also  instrumental in securing and hosting the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Week in Hawaii, which elevated the destination’s appeal as a world-class meetings destination, attracting other major global conferences like the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that will be held on O‘ahu in 2016. 
During his tenure, Mike also helped to guide the HTA in further perpetuating and preserving our host culture and promoting our unique people, place and culture. He has been a positive force in the visitor industry, guiding us to recovery while always leading with aloha. We know he will continue to be an effective leader in the Governor’s office and look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role. 

We are also pleased to announce that the board has selected Ron Williams to serve as the interim HTA president and CEO, effective Nov. 21. As the president and CEO of Atlantis Adventures and former HTA board chair, Ron has extensive background in tourism and is also well versed in the protocol, issues and management of the HTA and tourism industry. We are confident that he will help to create a smooth transition as we seek to fill the president and CEO position.

Aaron Sala 
HTA Board Chair

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