by Rich Thomaselli
on April 30, 2023 Last updated: 11:40 AM ET, Sun April 30, 2023
The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is sticking around for now as a bill to dissolve the entity and change its name and structure has been deferred until state lawmakers come back from break.The bill, as proposed, would eliminate the HTA and replace it with a nine-member board known as the Office of Tourism and Destination Management. It would also include individuals from the hospitality industry who would make final decisions about tourism in the state. Funding for the HTA was not included in the latest state budget.“With the omission of the Hawaii Tourism Authority from the state budget bill and today’s deferral of HB1375, our work in holistic, integrated destination management, visitor education, and brand marketing is in jeopardy,” the current HTA President and CEO John De Fries said in a statement. “We appreciate the Legislature’s appropriation to repair the Hawaii Convention Center roof, and with adjustments to current contracts, we will have funds to keep the lights on and retain our staff of 22. Our leadership team and board of directors will be making tough decisions in the coming days about canceling active procurements, existing contracts, and ongoing community work. We look forward to working with the Legislature to earn their confidence in our work ahead of next year’s session.”The HTA had asked for $75 million this year and $60 million next year from the state budget to continue to operate one of the largest tourism authorities in the country. The Hawaiian Islands are one of the most heavily populated tourist destinations in the world.
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Appeared first on: travelpulse.com