The Conversation: HTA CEO on Preparing for Tourism Reopening

Oct 5, 2020

Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO on tourism reopening; Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii's role during COVID-19; Navatek CEO showed no sympathy to workers during pandemic; State and nonprofits launch job training for emerging industries

John De Fries, President and CEO, Hawaii Tourism Authority
Credit Courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority

Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO on tourism reopening

We are looking ahead to next week, Oct. 15, when we enter a new phase of our economic recovery due to the global pandemic crisis. Visitors to the Islands will be able to bypass the 14-day quarantine under a new pre-travel COVID-19 test program. We hear more from the new head of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, John De Fries.

Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii's role during COVID-19

The Waikiki offices of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii have been shuttered since the early part of 2020 - but that doesn't mean it hasn't been working. Jessica Lani Rich, executive director of VASH, tells us about its mission and how it's been busy despite the lack of tourists.

Navatek CEO showed no sympathy to workers during pandemic

Months before Navatek LLC's CEO Martin Kao was arrested on federal charges of defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program meant to help small businesses stay afloat during a deadly pandemic, he sent a company-wide email to his employees assuring them their jobs were safe. But he also made it very clear that he would not be sympathetic to employees who didn't perform to the fullest extent possible in order to keep the company on a good financial path. Civil Beat Reporter Nick Grube tells us about Kao's threats of "draconian consequences" for his employees. Click here to read his story at CivilBeat.org.

Credit Flickr / photologue_np

State and nonprofits launch job training for emerging industries

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, along with nonprofit organizations and the private sector, launched a job training program last month supported by $10 million in federal CARES Act money. The program can provide local businesses with up to 650 workers. Click here to find more info on jobs in the conservation track from Kupu Aina Corps from Kupu. Click here to find more info on jobs in the innovation track from the Aloha Connects Innovation program from Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii.

We want to hear from you. Send us your feedback:

  • Call our Talkback line at (808) 792-8217 and leave your comments.
  • Open the "Voice Memo" app on your mobile phone and record a comment, then email it to talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
  • Email your written comments to talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.