The work of creating a Governance Study for Hawai‘i tourism will unfold in four phases and is to be completed in May of 2024.


Research The Current State

The focus of this phase is to organize our work for success, identify key stakeholders, immerse ourselves in research, and begin exploring alternative governance structures.

Karey Kapoi will draw upon her extensive knowledge of Hawai‘i’s communities and organizations to lead recruitment of people to engage in a wide range of discussions on the four main islands.

Our team will explore relevant global trends that may hold answers for Hawaiʻi. We will review HTA's current structure, roles and relationships. Elke Dens and Cathy Ritter are speaking with destination leaders across the globe to gain insights into effective governance and emerging priorities. has been created to provide transparency, build understanding, and share findings.


Generate Insights For Potential Governance Scenarios

This phase centers on identifying potential ways of structuring HTA, speaking with key stakeholders, and planning workshops.

Our team will conduct dozens of confidential interviews to understand views of destination management and regenerative tourism. SMARInsights’ Denise Miller will field a survey aimed at identifying common ground for governing Hawai‘i tourism. Our team will create three potential governance scenarios for exploration on each of the four main islands — O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i.


See Your Governance Reality

As we move toward identifying a governance structure for Hawaiʻi tourism, it's essential to understand how aspirations may differ across the islands and among various groups of stakeholders.

Frank Cuypers will lead Co-Creation Labs on the four main islands to identify preferred solutions for Hawai‘i. Cathy Ritter and Karey Kapoi will support these discussions, and Elke Dens will join remotely. Each island visit also will include meetings with key people. We will compile our findings into a Situation Analysis and share it on this website in early April. Then, to seek alignment around possibilities for Hawai‘i tourism governance, we will hold five Ideation Sessions on the four main islands.


Recommend A Governance Model For Hawai'i Tourism

Governance Study recommendations will flow from all of the previous steps described in this process.

The study will identify an effective structure to govern Hawai‘i tourism and address the question of whether an alternative structure is necessary. It will provide recommendations for changes in policy and, if needed, changes to Hawai‘i statues. It also will recommend key performance indicators and a system for monitoring them. Jason Economou’s legal expertise will be invaluable for this work.

The study also will describe an organizational structure capable of supporting the recommended approach. This will include descriptions of any new departments, teams, and positions that are needed.