The State Legislature wants to repeal the existing HTA and create a new Office of Destination Management within the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBET).
This action appears to be a knee-jerk and punitive legislating. It reminds me of the nationwide movement to “Defund The Police” based on the actions of a few bad cops. Some states who defunded the police had to reverse their actions and fund the police. While justice and rule of law is paramount to our democracy, public policy-making must be intelligently and deliberately vetted.
What is interesting is also the punitive language that is attached to Bill 1375 and Bill SB 1522 –
SECTION l. The legislature finds that the Hawaii tourism
authority has failed to effectively execute its duties to manage
the tourism marketing plan for the State.
The Legislature is wielding a quick sword at HTA because it “has failed” in its duty. However, residents of Hawaii does not have the same swift opportunity to treat the Legislature job performance. Public efforts to adopt Term Limits for the State Legislature failed again this 2023 session.
Besides HTA is not the only entity that is contributing to the unhappiness of our residents in Hawaii relating to tourism issues. The Governor, Lt. Governor, Mayors, State and City Transportation departments and so forth are all responsible too.
Note the punitive language.
HB 1381 is a more deliberate and informed legislation to adopt a public policy. But it died very quickly.