The Board of Directors of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority elected longtime business executive and political leader Mufi Hannemann as its new chair on Thursday at a special board meeting.
His appointment is effective immediately. Educator and social impact entrepreneur Mahina Paishon will continue to serve as the board’s vice chair.
Former Chair Blaine Miyasato stepped out of the board chair position due to work responsibilities associated with the Dec. 3 announcement that Alaska Airlines is acquiring his employer, Hawaiian Airlines.
“HTA carries with it the duty to always do what’s best for the future of Hawai‘i and its people, while guiding our state’s largest and most important industry to be continually successful in the extremely competitive global tourism economy,” Hannemann said in a press release.
“I’m honored to have the board’s confidence in serving as chair and look forward to working collaboratively with Gov. Josh Green, our legislature and HTA’s leadership team to respond to the challenges faced by the industry so that everyone can share in the benefits tourism generates for Hawai‘i, while also taking care of our communities.”
Hannemann has one of the most accomplished business, tourism and political backgrounds in modern Hawai‘i history, highlighted by his previous roles as Honolulu mayor from 2005 to 2010 and director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
Hannemann currently serves as president and chief executive officer of the Hawaiʻi Lodging and Tourism Association, a position he has held for a decade. He also currently serves as a member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.
Miyasato has dedicated nearly four decades of service to Hawaiian Airlines, working his way up from flight attendant to the executive level. He currently serves as managing director of state government affairs.
Miyasato will continue to be a tourism authority board member.
“I enjoyed tremendously my tenure as chair and seeing first-hand all the good that the HTA and the tourism industry can accomplish for our state and its people,” he said in a press release.
HTA Interim President and CEO Daniel Nāho‘opi‘i said: “Mufi Hannemann is a proven, well-respected leader who has a strong vision and passion for how HTA and tourism can make Hawaiʻi a better place to live and work.”
HTA’s Board of Directors is a policy-making entity comprised of 12 members who meet monthly to guide the agency’s work on behalf of the people of Hawaiʻi.