News Releases

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Embarks on Governance Study

For Immediate Release: January 16, 2024
HTA Release (24-01)

24-01 HTA Embarks on Governance Study.pdf

HONOLULU – A quarter century after it was established to strategically manage tourism in Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) is embarking on a process to study tourism governance models across the nation and around the world to inform HTA’s next quarter century of service to the people of Hawaiʻi.

“While HTA’s goal is to drive meaningful economic impact statewide and provide for our residents who rely on a vibrant visitor industry, we must also improve our communities and strike the right balance of tourism’s benefits and preserving our finite cultural and natural resources,” said Mufi Hannemann, HTA Board Chair. “With such a diverse board representing so many facets of Hawai‘i’s businesses, industry stakeholders, community partners, and other sectors, together we offer a wealth of expertise and look forward to contributing to this study.”

The topic of researching governance models in other destinations and evaluating HTA’s overall governance structure has been discussed during previous State legislative sessions. HTA has supported this publicly in its various testimonies as a positive means to help determine and identify the best uses of the organization’s resources and its structure.

“HTA is critical to supporting the thousands of residents who work in the industry and other enterprises and sectors that rely on visitor spending, so it’s important that we use this opportunity to help guide our path forward, said Stephanie Iona, HTA Governance Study Permitted Interaction Group Co-Chair and board member. “We will continue to evolve and prioritize the wellbeing of our residents first, ensuring a sustainable future for Hawai‘i. 

The process will begin with an analysis and review of literature in addition to conducting interviews and meetings with staff, board members, and stakeholders to identify the ideal governance structure and strategic organization of HTA, including recommendations for policy reform and modifications to HTA’s Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, Chapter 201B.

This work will be performed by Better Destinations LLC, a contractor selected through a competitive bidding process pursuant to Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes 103D. Contract terms, conditions, and amounts are subject to final negotiations with HTA and the availability of funds.

“HTA is embarking on this journey to closely examine how we can best serve the people of Hawai‘i with the overall goal of creating a governance structure to manage tourism effectively and drive meaningful economic diversification for our state,” said Daniel Nāho‘opi‘i, HTA’s interim president and CEO. “We look forward to working with Better Destinations LLC which has proven experience in tourism assessment and strategic planning for leading destinations.”

Media Contacts:

T. Ilihia Gionson
Public Affairs Officer
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority
(808) 973-2255 (o)
[email protected]