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The Conversation

2 tourism executives say their involvement in the HTA contract process may have been overstated

HTA Messaging.jpg kahului airport maui
Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority

Information about the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority awarding a $34 million tourism contract to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement has been slow to become public. The Conversation learned about two members whose names were included in the bid proposals and whose involvement may have been overstated.

Jerry Gibson of the Hawaiʻi Hotel Alliance told HPR that he was surprised to see his name in the most recent proposal. He said that while he met with Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement CEO Kūhiū Lewis for an hour, it was not mentioned that his name would be included in the bid.

A second tourism executive, retired XTERRA CEO Tom Kiely, said that was his experience during the first round of the request for proposals. He said he went back over his emails to refresh his memory of what transpired. Kiely believes the contract is too important and is calling on a reset.

The Conversation reached out to Stryker-Weiner, a public relations firm for the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, for comment but it said it was difficult because the award is still in the protest period.

This interview aired on The Conversation on June 17, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

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