Destinations

Hawaii Tourism Authority confirms new president and CEO

John De Fries has accepted the offer to become the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s new president and CEO.

The HTA’s board of directors unanimously agreed during a board meeting late last month to make an offer to De Fries, who will commence his new role on 16 September.

HTA received more than 300 applications for the position, with Honolulu-based executive search and staffing firm Bishop & Company assisting with the recruitment process.

A committee of six HTA board members and three community members reviewed the qualifications of the applicants before narrowing the list down to a group of nine finalists for interviews.

The full HTA board interviewed the final two candidates on 27 August before making an offer to De Fries.

Born and raised in Waikiki, and now living in Kona on Hawaii Island, De Fries was raised by family elders steeped in Hawaiian culture.

He has more than 40 years of professional experience in the tourism and resort development industries.

His recent visitor industry experience includes serving as executive director of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association.

De Fries is also president and principal advisor for Native Sun Business Group, a business consulting and project management firm focused on Hawaii’s hospitality and real estate development industries.

He previously led the Department of Research and Development for the County of Hawaii, a division responsible for stimulating economic growth in sectors including tourism, agriculture and renewable energy.

Prior to that, De Fries served as president and CEO of Hokulia, a luxury residential community on Hawaii Island.

De Fries is the first Native Hawaiian appointed as HTA’s president and CEO, and replaces Chris Tatum, who retired on 31 August. HTA’s chief administrative officer, Keith Regan, has been serving as interim president and CEO.

HTA chair Rick Fried said: “All of us at HTA are looking forward to having John take the helm of Hawaii’s visitor industry.

“I was pleased to see that he has already become involved with working on ways that we can safely reopen tourism while keeping COVID-19 under control.”

Commenting on his appointment, De Fries said: “Hawaii’s pathway to economic recovery and enhanced community wellbeing will require unprecedented levels of focus, collaboration, cooperation, coordination, and unified executive leadership throughout all sectors.

“I am grateful to have been chosen to lead the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

“Beset now by a global pandemic and economic collapse, Hawaii faces a myriad of daunting challenges – among them, the reopening of our tourism industry, at a time when immense and growing anxiety can be felt in our local communities.

“The radiance of hope, however, is found in the resilience and creativity of Hawaii’s leaders in both the public and private sectors – the aunties, uncles, parents, kupuna, youth, coaches, teachers, ministers, health care workers and essential workers who are diligently searching for solutions, for their communities.”

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Destinations

“Vaccination alone is no guarantee that you can open up”: Health Minister issues bleak border warning

Greg Hunt says Australia’s international border could remain closed even once the entire country has been vaccinated against COVID-19. *Sigh*

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Signed, sealed, delivered: ACCC authorises Virgin’s cooperation plan with Alliance Airlines

by Huntley Mitchell

Did you recently happen to see ACCC tsar Rod Sims popping some mail in your local AusPost box? All is explained here.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Accor to bring second Mövenpick hotel Down Under

Travel Weekly’s editor is more of a Häagen-Dazs fan when it comes to ice cream, but he’s still licking his lips over this new hotel.

Share

CommentComments

Events

The travel industry’s favourite destination event is back!

by Sponsored by Tourism Authority of Thailand

Dust off your event frocks and shine your ‘outside shoes’ because the Aussie travel industry’s favourite destination event is back with a post-pandemic twist.

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with Hilton’s Chad Miskiewicz

This week, the head chef at Samuels on Mill at Parmelia Hilton played us his favourite Foo Fighters songs while making his famous brisket. It was delicious.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Dolphins spotted in Venice’s Grand Canal

Don’t worry, we haven’t fallen prey to the same hoax that was circulating at the start of the pandemic. There were scientists involved this time, so we reckon this one checks out.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Australian Travel Agents Co-operative inks deal with Expedia

Do you happen to be a member of the ATAC? Well, you probably already know about this news, but here it is anyway.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Carnival posts $2.6 billion first-quarter loss

The cruise giant has laid bare its quarterly financials, and it appears head office will have to wait patiently for a new Nespresso machine.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

The Ghan gets a makeover to celebrate Parrtjima festival

Journey Beyond has teamed up with a very talented Indigenous artist to give The Ghan a wicked cool new paint job.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“Serious incident” on flight sees female passengers classified as children

The error, which was caused by a glitchy IT update, caused the plane to be more than 1,200 kilograms heavier than expected.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Wendy Wu Tours launches four new Aussie trips

Just like the gambling debt of Travel Weekly’s editor, Wendy Wu’s domestic product offering has grown.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

European MPs call for safer, more sustainable tourism post-pandemic

Here’s some political news all the way from Europe. However, that’s not to suggest we actually sent a journalist over there to cover it.

Share

CommentComments