Maui Business

Mufi Hannemann Appointed President and CEO of HLTA

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Mufi Hannemann. Courtesy photo.

Mufi Hannemann. Courtesy photo.

By Maui Now Staff

Mufi Hannemann has been appointed as president and CEO of the Hawaiʻi Lodging & Tourism Association. He officially fills the position on July 20, succeeding George Szigeti, who left HLTA last month to become president and CEO of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.

“We had excellent candidates come forward wanting to lead HLTA, but the search committee felt that Mufi was the best choice considering his superb record of leadership, experience and drive in supporting tourism’s best interests,” said Kelly Hoen, chairperson of HLTA’s Board of Directors.

“Mufi did a stellar job in leading HLTA previously and we are thrilled to welcome him back to advance initiatives that build on our success for Hawaii’s lodging industry and its thousands of employees statewide.”

Hoen added that, led by Hannemann and supported by HLTA’s outstanding core team of Karen Wataru-Nakaoka as executive director, Jared Higashi as director of government and community affairs, and Malia Kahale as administrative assistant, HLTA will be charged with fulfilling the four key goals that are essential to its membership:

  1. Advocate the needs of HLTA members with the federal, state, and county governments;
  2. Provide educational opportunities, timely information, and appropriate resources to HLTA members, legislators, the news media, and community;
  3. Provide a wide range of economic benefits and preferred services to HLTA members;
  4. Support and contribute to a better quality of life and environment to the community and Hawaii’s visitors.

Hannemann previously served as president and CEO of HLTA from January 2011 to July 2012. During his tenure, he was credited for being an energetic, creative and strategic leader who elevated HLTA’s public profile and expanded its influence statewide. One of his first acts was changing the organization’s name from the Hawaiʻi Hotel & Lodging Association to the Hawaʻii Lodging & Tourism Association to more accurately reflect its significance to the success of tourism in Hawaiʻi.


Under Hannemann’s leadership, HLTA supported the lodging industry’s interests on bills and measures brought before state and county lawmakers, increased its membership statewide, created stronger alliances on the neighbor islands, enhanced collaboration with non-tourism business leaders and fostered a stronger relationship with the University of Hawaiʻi’s School of Travel Industry Management.

“I’m overjoyed to again be leading HLTA and will work collaboratively with our tourism, government, and community leaders to resolve the challenges facing Hawaiʻi’s visitor industry,” said Hannemann.

“I have been an unequivocal champion of tourism throughout my career in the private and public sectors,” said Hannemann. “HLTA is vital in supporting the interests of lodging, tourism’s largest economic sector and employer. Our efforts and commitment will be focused on effecting the kind of meaningful change that will contribute to the betterment of Hawaiʻi’s tourism industry and, consequently, to the state’s economy as a whole.”


A 30-year leader in business, tourism and politics in Hawaiʻi, Hannemann’s career achievements include serving as mayor of the City and County of Honolulu from 2005 to 2010, and as a member of the Honolulu City Council, including council chair, from 1995-2000. Hannemann also served as chair of the US Conference of Mayor’s Tourism and Arts Committee, and as director of the Hawaiʻi State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism during the Waiheʻe administration.

The Hawaiʻi Lodging & Tourism Association is a statewide organization representing hotels, condominiums, timeshares, and other lodging entities. HLTA is dedicated to supporting Hawaii’s lodging industry through education, political action and membership benefits, and raising awareness about its contributions to communities throughout the state.

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