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

Tourism

Northern Beaches COVID-19 outbreak led to $7 billion loss for tourism industry: TTF

Avalon residents have reportedly gone back into quarantine to escape the blame for this huge loss to the tourism industry.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Federal government urged to introduce HECS-style loan scheme for small businesses

Could this turn out to be another much-needed funding opportunity for travel agents? Let’s bloody hope so.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Air New Zealand updates international flight schedule to end of June

Keen to know the Kiwi carrier’s international movements over the next few months? All is revealed here.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

WATCH: “Naughty” tourists forced to do push-ups for not wearing masks in Bali

Travel Weekly staff would do anything to avoid doing push-ups. Hell, we’ll wear six masks if we have to.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Airbnb appoints new regional boss

APAC hoteliers are looking over their shoulder after the home-sharing giant named its new bossman for the region.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

WTTC releases mental health guidelines for travel and tourism sectors

At a time when mental health could not be more important, the world’s leading tourism organisation has released some new guidelines to help businesses of all sizes in the industry support their employees.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Silversea announces huge commission bonus, as Silver Dawn hits the water

Would you like to get a fat bonus on top of your next cruise commission? Get on board this latest offer from Silversea.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

APAC countries dominate the latest passport rankings

They might seem fairly useless right now, but that hasn’t stopped Henley & Partners from churning out its latest passport index.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

GET IN QUICK: Less than two weeks left for Bunnik Tours’ massive 2022 sale

2022 trips at 2020 prices? This news will have your clients yelling “you bloody beauty!” or something to that effect, at least.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

IHG and City Tattersalls Club team up to open Hotel Indigo Sydney Centre

CTC members are cheering about this new deal, as it means they can now just wander upstairs and pass out at after enjoying a few too many whiskeys at the Silks Bar.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Italy achieves one million COVID-19 vaccinations in just 19 days

Travel Weekly’s editor could be heard muttering Italian superlatives like “eccezionale”, “sorprendente” and “bolognese” this morning as he typed this story out.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Health boss’ international travel prediction highlights need for “renamed and repurposed” JobKeeper: AFTA

Like the way that Pokémon character Jigglypuff turns into Wigglytuff, AFTA is seeking an evolution of JobKeeper.

Share

CommentComments