Senator Lynn DeCoite (District 7 – Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and Kahoʻolawe), chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, Economic Development and Tourism, issued a statement today regarding the deferral of HB1375 in conference committee:
“Unfortunately, we could not reach a consensus on HB1375. During negotiations, the Senate proposed that the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) continue to exist with a reduced governing board consisting of only nine members and a primary focus on marketing and promoting tourism.
As part of our proposal, we also recommended establishing the Office of Destination Management under the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT). The primary objective of this new agency would be to engage and involve local communities in destination management planning, which would provide valuable insight and feedback to help guide the state's overall tourism strategy.
Despite the impasse with the House on creating a proposed Office of Destination Management, I am confident that HTA can continue to operate with roughly $30 million of unspent American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. I am eager to have further discussions on this crucial issue with HTA and our legislative colleagues in the next legislative session.”