The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the state agency responsible for managing tourism, awarded its multimillion dollar marketing contract for the U.S. market to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA).
The decision means the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau has lost the contract after more than two decades of partnership.
The HTA said the contract covers a range of brand management and visitor education services and includes support services for Hawaii’s official travel website, app, social media channels and creative content.
The CNHA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to enhance the cultural, economic, political, and community development of Native Hawaiians,” according to its website.
In a statement, the CNHA said that it was “humbled” that the HTA “entrusted us as the entity to deliver the change that Hawaii has long demanded of our visitor industry.”
HTA’s multiyear deal with the CNHA begins June 30 and ends December 31, 2024, with HTA having the option to extend the agreement for an additional two years.
HVCB CEO John Monahan told its members in an email, “We are extremely disappointed in the outcome and we are reviewing the appropriate course of action. This in no way is a reflection on the work we have done together to steer a new course – Malama Ku’u Home.”
Monahan also said that HTA confirmed that HVCB’s existing contracts with Global MCI (Meet Hawaii), Destination Management Action Plans and the Island Chapters will remain in force.
The HTA issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the U.S. market on April 15 and said the finalists were determined and the winner chosen by an evaluation committee comprised of HTA, community and industry leaders.
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