Official State Audit: Hawaii Tourism Authority Incompetent


“I am pleased Leslie H. Kondo, Hawaii State Auditor is now getting a taste of the modus operandi by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA),” said no other than the publisher of eTurboNews in his capacity as a long time resident of the Aloha State and a tourism leader.

According to a recently concluded Hawaii State Audit, HTA has disregarded its own procurement policies and procedures, awarding sole source contracts based on questionable justifications, paying contractors without existing contracts, and voluntarily waiving ownership of intellectual property that the State paid to develop.

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The auditor said: “We found that HTA reimbursed millions of dollars to contractors without receipts and other required documentation; reimbursed costs, such as first-class airfare, luxury hotel accommodations, and other extravagant expenses, that was expressly prohibited by contract; and consistently failed to enforce contract terms that are intended to protect the State.”

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Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.