The Agency Shifted to Focus on Environmental Concerns
As the world's most secluded and largest island chain, Hawaii had become overrun by tourists in 2019 but as the pandemic hit, The Hawaiian Tourism Authority (HTA) began to brainstorm a way to best use this low traffic time.
HTA has been around since 1998 to market the state's impeccable travel industry to the world, is facing a stop to their state funding. House Bill 862 would strip the agency of funds by the 2023 fiscal year. During the pandemic, they shifted their focus to the environment.
HTA leader, John De Fries, is the first native Hawaiian leader, believed that the pandemic was the perfect moment to bring Hawaii up to date with native wisdom and modern technology. De Fries devoted HTA resources to promoting the state sustainability goal which was more important than marketing travel during the pandemic.