HONOLULU -- The newly created 13-member Hawaii Tourism Authority
began putting the state's new tourism structure in place.
At its first meeting, it elected John Reed, chairman of Duty
Free Shoppers of Hawaii, chairman, and Diane Quitiquit, director of
research and development, Hawaii County (Big Island), vice
The volunteer group also established a committee of three of its
members to search for an executive director who will be the
authority's only paid staffer.
Selection committee members are Keith Vieira, Starwood Hotels;
Shari Chang, Castle Resorts, and Roy Tokujo, Cove Marketing.
Another priority of the authority is to sign a contract with the
Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau to market the state for the
second half of the fiscal year, Jan. 1 to June 30.
For the fiscal year starting July 1, it will be free to choose
how it will contract for marketing.
Legislation establishing the authority also provides the state
with a dedicated source of tourism funding for the first time.
Starting Jan. 1, the authority will receive 37.9% of collected
hotel room tax revenues (the room tax increases from 6% to 7.25%
State tourism funding will more than double, from the current
$25 million to almost $60 million.
The authority replaces the previous tourism marketing structure
in which the Department of Business, Economic Development and
Tourism (DBEDT) contracted annually with HVCB to market Hawaii.
The authority will not have to lobby the Hawaii Legislature each
year for money, and dedicated funding will allow for strategic
planning and long-term marketing.