Hotel GM Kyoko Kimura is looking forward to tackling the challenges that face Hawaii's tourism board.

New HTA director brings
neighbor isle view

Kyoko Y. Kimura

>> New post: Hawaii Tourism Authority board of directors
>> Day job: President and general manager of Diamond Resort in Wailea, Maui

The HTA has come under fire for its processes and accountability. Does it concern you to come on board in that environment?

Yes, very much so, but I think that I should work on fixing it.

What do you think of the HTA's past performance?

They've been working hard, but this is a new organization and there are some things that need to be worked on, especially accountability. But we have a new executive director who was no part of the past and I think there is a lot of potential going forward. Also, there was no real way to measure performance before and we are almost ready with that.

What are the priorities you would like to see the board address?

Efficiency and accountability. We have to bring results. The communication with the Legislature was not very good before. It's not good for the HTA to be micromanaged by the government. However, that doesn't mean we should cut the communication with the legislators. In fact, we should approach them to update them with what's going on.

How do you think living on Maui will influence your approach as a board member?

Right now I'm the only person from Maui and nobody else knows what things are like on the neighbor islands. All the other islands are very different from Oahu and all the government agencies are very focused on Oahu, or in the case of the HTA, on Waikiki. But we do things differently here and I can bring that point of view to the board. Dollar-wise, the contributions from Maui are significant. Large hotel corporations have hotels in Maui, but may not be reporting tax dollars as Maui revenue. The TAT reports do not seem to reflect the contribution of Maui. Looking at the room rates we have here and the state's tax reports, it doesn't add up. I'd like to see that addressed.

What do you see as the growth areas for Hawaii tourism?

I think we are depending too much on leisure. We need to develop other forms of tourism. Not many people see Hawaii as a business destination. I want to change that. Japanese people feel bad coming to Hawaii because it's all play. They don't want to tell people they are coming to Hawaii when there's a war on or things are bad. People don't believe they are coming here for business. Also, we need to work on the expenditures per person. We want people who spend here.

That's a market Maui has pursued for some time. Do your colleagues at hotels there have some tips to offer?

Yes we do.

What are the threats facing the industry?

The largest threats are beyond our control, but something under our control is our level of competitiveness. A lot of our competitors are becoming very aggressive and we can research farther how to compete with them. Another threat is community support. We don't receive the support from the community that we want and without that tourism cannot really be successful. We need to increase the level of education to let people know what the industry is doing, to let them know we're not that dirty in terms of pollution and resource consumption. The current industry is not as resource intensive as people perceive. The industry is undertaking a lot of environmental efforts.

You were appointed to the HTA by Gov. Lingle. Have you and the governor worked together in the past?

I've never worked that closely with her. My name was sent to her on a short list from the Speaker's office. I believe I was the only person on the list from the visitor industry and the governor chose based on that background.

Inside Hawaii Inc. is a conversation with a member of the Hawaii business community who has changed jobs, been elected to a board or been recognized for accomplishments. Send questions and comments to:


E-mail to Business Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --