Former Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) Director Mike McCartney made the change before noon on Monday just before his term ended. He also canceled the request for proposals for the contract.
McCartney sent letters to both the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) as well as the CNHA.
HVCB had held the previous marketing contract and has continued managing the contract during a dispute process.
In the letters, McCartney says he believes it's no longer in the best interest of the state and people of Hawaii to enter into one single contract.
He believes there should be two contracts -- one for marketing communications and travel trade, and another for destination brand management, communication, education, and community-based economic development.
The state in June awarded the contract to CNHA, which triggered a lengthy dispute process.
Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) President and CEO John De Fries says the HTA board will discuss the development at its board meeting on Wednesday and work with the new DBEDT director, state procurement office, and Gov. Josh Green on a path forward.
CNHA CEO Kuhio Lewis issued the following statement on the contract being rescinded:
HTA President and CEO John De Fries issued the following statement:
"Yesterday, I received copies of two letters from Mike McCartney, former director of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT), notifying the two offerors in the latest solicitation for branding and destination management for the U.S. market that he was rescinding the June 2022 award to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) and cancelling RFP 22-01. The letters were signed and addressed to the respective presidents of CNHA and the Hawaiʻi Visitors and Conventions Bureau (HVCB), just before the end of McCartney’s term in office at noon on Monday.
My staff and I look forward to discussing this rescission and cancellation at our board meeting on Wednesday and we will work with our board, new DBEDT Director Chris Sadayasu, the State Procurement Office, and Governor Josh Green to explore viable options and align our direction going forward."