Tourism Editor’s note: Thorough review of travel contract 3 weeks agoAdd Commentby bouzara Mahalo for supporting the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! In a remarkable reshuffle, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) has parted ways with its longtime marketing partner, the Hawaiian Visitors and Convention Bureau, in a two-year, $35.2 million US market contract with the Hawaii Native Development Council (CNHA) . ). The choice of a new messaging partner signals a dramatic shift in HTA goals at a time when concerns are growing about the impact of tourism on the environment, culture and quality of life in Hawaii. A new contract for what is described as “brand management and visitor education services” was announced on Thursday. Now we are waiting for the results. With growing dissatisfaction with the impact of tourism on the islands, the HTA and CNHA are expected to make a change to attract tourists who will tread lightly on the ground and show respect for Hawaii’s host culture while supporting homegrown businesses and local entrepreneurship. The performance of the CNHA and its consortium of professionals will be critical, with measurable targets to facilitate oversight. One source of concern is the process leading up to the award of this contract. Allison Schaefers of Star-Advertiser said the Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau has won a 2021 U.S. service contract. However, after a formal complaint from a group that included CNHA, the contract was canceled and a new request for proposals was issued. HTA declined to provide details of this contract termination, declining a public information request from Star-Advertiser. As a government agency that has earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money for tourism development – much of it from the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau – this is unacceptable. It is to be expected that the group set up to generate CNHA’s tourism messaging has the experience needed to achieve satisfactory results, but questions remain without knowledge of the process that led the HTA to this important decision and without access to a successful proposal. The contract should be made public as soon as possible. Benchmarks must be set and communicated to the public to ensure full transparency of activities throughout the duration of the contract. In 2019, Hawaiians saw the full impact of over 10 million visitors – a record number – on the island’s traffic, trails, beaches and open spaces. However, widespread unemployment and economic hardship caused by the 2020-2021 COVID-19 crisis-induced halt to tourism has also made it clear that much of Hawaii’s wealth and well-being stems from the tourism industry. An uneasy consensus has formed that tourism is necessary, but must exist in a better state of balance with our island life. It is not yet known how CNHA plans to take on this messaging mission for the HTA, though it has an active role in community affairs. Founded in 2001, it manages… .