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HTA Shares Importance of Hawaii’s Tourism Industry at the Nation’s Capitol

HTA president and CEO Mike McCartney was recently in Washington D.C. with HTA Board Chair Ron Williams. McCartney was invited to testify on May 8, 2014 in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Tourism, Competitiveness, and Innovation, chaired by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. During the hearing on “The State of the U.S. Travel and Tourism: Industry Efforts to Attract 100 Million Visitors Annually,” McCartney provided updates on Hawaii’s tourism industry, travel promotion efforts and benefits of tourism.
His written testimony can be viewed here and a portion of the hearing can be viewed here

Highlights from the testimony include urging federal support for:

  • Enhancing access to Hawaii through:

    • Re-establishing Kona Airport as a second international port of entry;

    • Expanding border pre-clearance authorizations for major international market areas;

    • Allocating federal funding for airport improvements for Hawaii’s airports; 

  • Expanding the Visa Waiver Program;

  • Reauthorizing the Brand USA initiative;

  • Creating federal tax credits for destination development and upgrades; 

  • Maintaining investments in our National Parks and other cultural and natural attractions and resources; 

  • Supporting legislation that will enable tourism workforce and career development;

  • Advocating Hawaii as a meetings, conventions and incentives (MCI) destination;

  • Sustaining funding and support for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) programs in Hawaii; and 

  • Developing a public awareness campaign to educate Americans about the importance and benefits of tourism in the U.S.  

Other panelists invited to speak at the hearing were Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association and Christopher Thompson, president and CEO of Brand USA. 

While in D.C., McCartney and Williams also met with Hawaii’s congressional delegation to provide updates and advocate support for the state’s tourism industry. 

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