State leaders, tourism officials call tourism marketing deal a solid compromise
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After months of heated debate over whether the state needs more tourism or if there’s too much, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement have reached a tentative deal to share the duties of promoting and guiding Hawaii’s number one industry.
“I am very pleased with the progress that the two organizations have made in coming together so that we can move forward in the best interests of the state,” said Mike McCartney, director of the state Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism.
In the proposed deal, CNHA will handle the destination management duties for the Hawaii market ― a role that will be greatly expanded from the past.
“We look forward to having a seat at the table alongside HTA, the visitor industry, HVCB and the people of Hawaii to achieve a regenerative model that protects and perpetuates our precious community, resources and aina,” said CNHA CEO Kuhio Lewis.
The HVCB will continue to manage the marketing and branding for North America market. The company will also have its current marketing contract extended for six months.
“We also look forward to collaborating with HTA and CNHA to collectively achieve a regenerative tourism model,” said HVCB CEO John Monahan.
A retired HVCB CEO said the dual approach to marketing tourism was considered more than 20 years ago.
“If CNHA is involved in that process with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, along with other state departments, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Department of Transportation, community organizations, cultural practitioners ... then collectively, I think you could end up with a very positive situation,” said former HVCB CEO Tony Vericella.
But some lawmakers have questions about how the contract can be split and how it’s going to be paid for.
“It’s hard to judge whether or not there is going to be required additional funds, whether or not the Legislature would approve any more additional funds,” said state Rep. Richard Onishi, chair of the House Labor and Tourism Committee.
In the end, they said compromise is the best solution.
“I do not want to see more controversy brought into this major contract,” Onishi said.
Added Vericella: “As the old Hawaiian proverb still continues, you know, no task is too great when done together by all.”
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