Hawaii tourism

Hawaii Tourism Authority extends US tourism contract amid protests

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is extending the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau’s U.S. tourism contract and Global Support Services contract by three months as an interim measure to give the agency time to settle a supply protest.

Mike McCartney, director of the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, in his role as Chief Procurement Agency, said in a statement today, “The Hawaiian Islands are in the middle of the Busy summer travel season and planning must be done for the upcoming fall period. Therefore, I have determined, with the concurrence of the State’s Director of Purchasing, that it is beneficial to the State to extend the current United States (Major Market) contract with the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau 90 days, until September 28, which should give enough time to resolve the ongoing protest.

On June 21, HVCB formally protested HTA’s June 2 decision to award a multi-year U.S. touring contract to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement worth more than $34 million in the first two years.

HTA had previously awarded HVCB a multi-year US touring contract worth $22.5 million in the first year, but canceled it when CNHA protested in December. HVCB lost a large margin this year when HTA re-solicited the brand management and global support services contract in the United States.

HTA’s previous contract extension with the bureau, which was executed in December after CNHA’s protest, was due to expire today.

HVCB will receive $4.25 million for the most recent US Touring contract extension and $375,000 for the Global Support contract extension.

McCartney said he made the decision after speaking with HTA President and CEO John De Fries.

“We have agreed that granting this extension is in the best interests of our state and creates the necessary time frame in which the protest can be resolved,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to ensure a fair and smooth transition in which the best partner for HTA is found. Due to my role in this process, I will respectfully decline further public comment until the protest is resolved and a new contract is awarded.