Quitiquit resigns as chair of Hawaii board

HONOLULU -- Hawaii Tourism Authority chairwoman Diane Quitiquit resigned her post effective Nov. 30, six months after being elected by the 13-member body. The HTA is in charge of a $60 million annual budget for promoting tourism to the state.

"I don't know if I would say I liked the job," said Quitiquit. "I think you take a job like this because you are called upon to do your civic duty, and I wanted to be a part of change in Hawaii."

Quitiquit was named to the authority by Gov. Ben Caye-tano in October 1998 when the authority was created by the legislature. She was elected to chair it after the first chairman, John Reed, resigned.

Quitiquit recently took a job with the Parker Ranch on the Big Island as manager of hospitality. She also is leaving her position as director of research for the county of Hawaii.

"The HTA has taken a great deal of my time and energy, and I want to give that back to my family," said Quitiquit.

Quitiquit said she spent 30 to 40 hours a week working with the HTA, which is an unpaid job. "I've been running on this treadmill with the speed at full blast for too long now," she said.

In the first year of its existence, the HTA has awarded two contracts that will take a good chunk of its $60 million budget: one to market leisure tourism and one to market the new convention center. Both of those contracts went to the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

The HTA also has spent time putting together a strategic plan that maps out the state's plans for luring more tourists, said Quitiquit.

Quitiquit said the HTA was expected to elect a new chair at its Nov. 17 meeting, and the governor will have to appoint a new member to the authority. No names for the chair or a new board member have surfaced.

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