At the Hawaii State Capitol, a piece of legislation aimed at creating a new state-run tourism division to replace the Hawaii Tourism Authority has made significant progress.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee greenlit the bill, which calls for the disbandment of HTA and the creation of a new entity, the Office of Tourism and Destination Management. The proposed office will have a nine-member executive committee.
Moreover, the bill includes provisions for allocating $64 million towards the replacement of the roof of the Hawaii Convention Center, which houses the HTA. This repair work is of the utmost importance, as recent pictures following the thunderstorms that occurred over the last weekend show certain sections of the roof collapsing onto the floor.
State Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, chair of the WAM committee said, “This is something that the senate really believes has to get done, so we can attract conferences…. So we can save money in the long term regarding maintenance and get the Convention Center fully operating.”
One of the key components of the proposed bill is the appointment of a state-employed tourism executive director, whose remuneration will be subject to a cap. While these proposals will undergo further deliberation and negotiation with the house, Dela Cruz anticipates that the request for $64 million towards the roof repair work will likely receive approval.