After two rounds of canceled contract awards and failed bills aimed at dissolving the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), things at the agency appear to be moving forward and returning to some sort of normality. The HTA has just awarded two contracts for the US market for a total of $65.5 million. It is the first time that the HTA awards two contracts, one for the management and marketing of the brand and the other for the administration of the destination, for the same market.
“In keeping with HTA’s guiding principle of malama kuu house (caring for our beloved home, its 2020-2025 Strategic Plan and community-driven Destination Management Action Plans being implemented on each island, the work of the contractors will promote a regenerative model of tourism for Hawaii. Indicators with an emphasis on strengthening resident sentiment,” the HTA said in a news release.
The first contract, for $27.1 million, was awarded to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) for destination management support services. This will include post-arrival visitor education programs, administrative support from HTA, and the use of “technology-enabled solutions to manage tourism hot spots.”
“Kilohana, the tourism division of CNHA, looks forward to working with HTA, industry officials and the community to locate the people, culture and aina at the center of how the state manages these islands as a visitor destination,” CNHA Executive Director Kuhio Lewis said in a news release.
The second contract, for $38.5 million, was awarded to HTA’s longtime partner, the Hawaii Convention and Visitors Bureau (HVCB), for destination brand management and marketing services. This work will include pre-arrival education for visitors.
Both contracts are scheduled to start on June 22 and run for 2.5 years, with extension options.
“As your neighbors, friends and ohanaWe look forward to continuing the development of HTA’s regenerative tourism model that is consistent with our community’s desires, economic goals, cultural values, preservation of natural resources, and the needs of the visitor industry,” said HVCB Executive Director, John Monahan, in a press release.
The CNHA and the HVCB are former rivals for the HTA’s US marketing contract. In 2021, the HTA awarded the contract to the HVCB, only for the CNHA to challenge the award. It was finally cancelled. Then in 2022 the CNHA won the only award, only to have it contested by the HVCB. The decision to split the US market contract this time comes after the former director of the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, who canceled the previous contracting process in 2022, called for there to be two contracts instead of one. one.
New contract awards must also go through the standard protest period, which expires June 14, before they are final.