UHERO BRIEFS ARE CIRCULATED TO STIMULATE DISCUSSION AND CRITICAL COMMENT. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL AUTHORS. WHILE BRIEFS BENEFIT FROM ACTIVE UHERO DISCUSSION, THEY HAVE NOT UNDERGONE FORMAL ACADEMIC PEER REVIEW.
By Paul Brewbaker, Frank Haas, and James Mak
State lawmakers in the 2023 state legislature are bashing the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)…again! This year, the existence of HTA is at stake. Two bills (Senate Bill SB 1522 SD2 and House Bill HB1375 SD3) propose to repeal the HTA although they differ in the entity that would replace it. At issue is finding the most effective governance system for managing Destination Hawaii. In this essay we argue that neither bill would improve tourism governance over what is in place today despite HTA’s well-known flaws. We begin with a brief history of HTA. Why was it created and why key state lawmakers are now clamoring for its repeal.