Maui News

State Demands “Cease and Desist” to Group With Name Similar to Hawai‘i Tourism Authority

September 25, 2020, 11:17 AM HST
* Updated September 25, 1:27 PM
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The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority was recently made aware of an entity called the “Hawaii Tourism Association,” utilizing the email address [email protected]ssociation.com and website address hawaiitourismassociation.com.

The HTA today released a statement saying this group is in no way related to the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority and it is not a state agency.

Furthermore, the State of Hawaiʻi has not endorsed the entity’s “Safer Tourism Seal” program nor any email solicitation on this matter, which is promoted on the association website.

The Hawaiʻi Attorney General’s office sent a letter today to the “Hawaii Tourism Association,” demanding the entity cease and desist from the use of the name “Hawaii Tourism Association” in any public or commercial forum or medium.

The Hawaii Tourism Association reached out to Maui Now and provided a response saying the website was established more than 12 years as a private entity of volunteers and concerned Hawaiʻi citizens.

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“HITA had worked with volunteers to make Hawaiʻi a better place for tourism.  The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority was aware of our name from the very first moment it was established back in 2008. The organization had been covered in the press many times. A meeting with David Uchiyama, former head of marketing for HTA took place at the HTA office on the day Hawaiʻi Tourism Association was established.”

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The Hawaii Tourism Association reports it had been using HITA and not HTA since 2009.

The group further states:

“The founder had been serving on the US Department of Commerce Export Council representing tourism for Hawaiʻi. The appointment lasted for more than 2 years, and US Secretary of Commerce on December 31,2013 issued a certificate of appreciation. It was fully disclosed and understood that the Hawaii Tourism Association had no affiliation with the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.

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“It can only be assumed the new leadership at HTA is not all informed about the role HITA has been playing. We are currently attempting to discuss this confusion with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and stopped operation until this can be clarified.

“It has been clearly disclosed since the start of HITA and on all web-sites that Hawaii Tourism Association has no affiliation with the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority or any State or Government agency.”

***This post has been updated following receipt of additional information provided by the HITA.

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