Digital Talk Story Episode 15 with Kalani Ka‘anā‘anā, Chief Brand Officer of the Hawaii Tourism Authority

Mar 17, 2022

By Transform Hawaii Government

In this episode of Transform Hawaii Government's (THG) Digital Talk Story series, Executive Director Christine Sakuda speaks with Kalani Ka‘anā‘anā, Chief Brand Officer of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), about the important role technology is playing in the state’s destination management efforts and how HTA is collaborating with other state departments to gather and leverage data to create positive change in balancing tourism’s impacts statewide.

As Chief Brand Officer, Ka‘anā‘anā is responsible for overseeing the implementation of HTA’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, which focuses on natural resources preservation, perpetuation of the Hawaiian culture, community empowerment, and brand management. He joined HTA in 2016 and previously served as its Director of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs and Natural Resources. He is also a member of the 2019 Omidyar Fellow Cohort with THG’s Sakuda.

During their conversation, Ka‘anā‘anā elaborated on the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on travel and tourism which enabled the HTA to reevaluate how tourism could be better managed in a regenerative manner that brings more benefits to communities statewide. One way it is supporting this effort is by using technology to collect data, including mobile location information, to better inform state resource management decisions. The use of digital technology supports HTA's ability to Malama Kuu Home (caring for my beloved home), which is the emphasis and focus for HTA in protecting Hawaii for future generations.

Ka‘anā‘anā also discussed how HTA works closely with other departments and agencies, including the Office of Enterprise Technology Services, to holistically approach data managing and sharing, a crucial part of the state’s modernization work.

Looking towards the future, Ka‘anā‘anā shared that HTA will continue to look for new opportunities to improve its destination management efforts by continuing to invest in technology and research. He also previewed a technology ecosystem in the works for HTA provisionally titled "Smart Destination Hawaii," which would leverage technology to stay in touch with visitors while they are in the islands to reinforce responsible travel behaviors for an enhanced vacation experience.

THG extends its appreciation to Kalani Ka‘anā‘anā for taking the time to join us for our Digital Talk Story series.

Watch Episode 15 of the Digital Talk Story series here.