Hawaii Tourism Authority Announces Reorganization Toward Destination Management Including Two Executive Promotions
For Immediate Release: July 26, 2021
HTA Release (21-26)
HONOLULU – 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.
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, the visitor industry, and the Hawaii Tourism Authority are all in a time of huliau, or transformative change, in which an accelerated shift toward destination management is necessary in order for tourism to properly support the revitalization of our communities and economy in a more meaningful and reciprocal way,” said John De Fries, HTA president and CEO. “Our heightened focus on destination management allows us to be more nimble, able to quickly adapt to changing market conditions, and more effectively address tourism’s impacts in key areas across the state.”
In the restructuring of HTA, Kalani Kaanaana has been promoted to chief brand officer and Caroline Anderson has been promoted to director of planning. Both are newly created positions instrumental to HTA’s focus on supporting four integrated pillars for the Hawaiian Islands – Natural Resources, Hawaiian Culture, Community and Brand Marketing.
As chief brand officer, Kaanaana is responsible for overseeing HTA’s various initiatives outlined in its 2020-2025 Strategic Plan in the areas of community empowerment, perpetuation of the Hawaiian culture, preservation of natural resources, and brand management. He joined HTA in 2016 and most recently served as its director of Hawaiian cultural affairs and natural resources.
Born and raised in Kailua on Oahu and fluent in Olelo Hawaii, the Hawaiian language, Kaanaana is involved in a multitude of community activities. He is one of the 14 collaborative Native Hawaiian authors of the Aina Aloha Economic Futures declaration and is an active member of the Kailua Hawaiian Civic Club and 2019 Omidyar Fellow. His ohana comes from Kaaihee, Kailua, Oahu. An alumnus of Kailua High School, Kaanaana graduated with distinction from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, earning Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies.
As director of planning, Anderson is overseeing the development and monitoring of HTA’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan and 2021-2023 Destination Management Action Plans for each county, including program evaluation and addressing identified hotspot issues in key areas across the state. In her previous HTA position as director of community enrichment, she managed the Community Enrichment program, which fosters community-based tourism projects that improve and enrich Hawaii’s product offerings and visitor experiences, and the Workforce Development program. Since joining HTA in 2000, she has held various roles in brand management and tourism planning.