New President and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority
For Immediate Release: September 9, 2020
HTA Release (20-179)
HONOLULU – John De Fries has accepted the offer to become the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s new president and CEO. The HTA Board of Directors unanimously agreed during the August 27 board meeting to make an offer to De Fries. He will start on September 16.
“Hawaii’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. I am grateful to have been chosen to lead the Hawaiiʻi Tourism Authority,” De Fries said.
Born and raised in Waikiki, now living in Kona on Hawaiiʻi Island, De Fries was raised by family elders steeped in Hawaiian culture. He has more than 40 years of professional experience in the tourism and resort development industries. His recent visitor industry experience includes serving as executive director of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association. He is also president and principal advisor for Native Sun Business Group, a business consulting and project management firm focused on Hawaii's hospitality and real estate development industries.
De Fries previously led the Department of Research and Development for the County of Hawaii, a division responsible for stimulating economic growth in sectors including tourism, agriculture and renewable energy. Prior to that, he served as president and CEO of Hokulia, a luxury residential community on Hawaii Island.