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Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority Shares Maui Marketing Plan Amid Fire Recovery

The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority kicked off a two-day conference Monday morning at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center on Oʻahu.

A good part of it will focus on the impact of the Maui wildfires — and working toward some kind of recovery for tourism. The HTA Board of Directors approved $2.6 million to help in that effort.

Daniel Nāhoʻopiʻi, the interim president and CEO of the HTA, stressed the importance of maintaining jobs and employment for Maui residents. He started in the position after John De Fries stepped down in September as planned.

“Part of that support of Maui residents and businesses is coming to buy local, make reservations in restaurants,” he said. “Maui is safe to travel in a respectful manner.”

Nāhoʻopiʻi said the board has also approved a contract to bolster its international marketing in Canada and Japan.

He said Hawaiʻi has strong competition from other tourism spots such as Fiji and Europe.

“So we have to be in there, reminding visitors or potential travelers that Hawaiʻi has a unique proposition. We have the culture, the people, the values — which is a part of that global trend towards regenerative tourism, where you learn a little bit more about the culture, you have an authentic experience, as opposed to some of those resorts and other international destinations,” he said.

Earlier this year, the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority survived another takedown attempt by the state Legislature amid dwindling funds. Nāhoʻopiʻi said the HTA will work to better understand concerns from lawmakers and residents in the upcoming 2024 legislative session.

“In the end, we are a government agency and our purpose is to ensure there’s benefit to the residents through economic development and jobs and not to impact them negatively, but also support, as a part of DBEDT, our industry partners and meet their needs,” he added.

Source : HawaiiPublicRadio