Hawaii Tourism Authority welcomes new appointees to its Board of Directors

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The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is pleased to welcome four new appointees to serve on its board of directors, David Arakawa, Micah Alameda, Kyoko Kimura and Ben Rafter.

Governor David Ige recently nominated the four business and community leaders to serve on HTA’s board, with their appointments confirmed by the Hawaii State Senate.

George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO, said, “David Arakawa, Micah Alameda, Kyoko Kimura and Ben Rafter will strengthen an already strong board of directors that provides our team with valuable insight in supporting HTA to fulfill its mission of managing tourism to benefit of the state of Hawaii. These four successful individuals each bring a fresh perspective built on experiences in the community, business and tourism that will help guide us forward in addressing the myriad of opportunities and challenges faced by Hawaii’s tourism industry.”

David Arakawa serves as executive director of the Land Use Research Foundation of Hawaii, a private, nonprofit research and trade association whose members include major Hawaii landowners, developers, resort operators and a utility company. An attorney by trade, Arakawa previously served as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Hawaiian Airlines; corporation counsel for the City and County of Honolulu; as a partner in private practice for the law firm of Fujiyama Duffy and Fujiyama; and as a deputy prosecuting attorney. He has extensive experience in land use, resort development, employment and administrative law, and is also involved in numerous professional, civic and community activities. Arakawa graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and also earned his law degree from the university’s William S. Richardson School of Law.

Arakawa is fulfilling the term vacated by a former board member. His appointment took effect with the May board meeting. His term ends June 30, 2020.

Micah Alameda serves as marketing manager and is a member of the executive management team for Na Leo TV. A resident of the island of Hawaii, he handles various responsibilities that includes researching and writing grants, developing and monitoring plans to keep projects moving forward, serving as on-screen talent for broadcasting programs, developing, implementing and executing the strategic marketing plan, and managing Nā Leo’s social media presence. Active in the community with legislative experience at the state and county level, Alameda is a member of the Keaukaha Community Association, Piihonua Hawaiian Homes Association, Young Democrats of Hawaii, and Hawaii County Democrats.

Kyoko Kimura is the director of owner relations for Aqua-Aston Hospitality and serves as the liaison between the owners of 48 hotel properties and the management company. One of her primary responsibilities is working with state and county officials to secure permits and address governmental issues. A longtime resident of Maui and 30-year veteran of the resort and hotel industry, Kimura previously served on HTA’s board of directors from 2003 to 2011. She has been very active in business and community organizations, both on Maui and at a statewide level. Kimura has served as simultaneous interpreter for George H. W. Bush in the past and currently serves as a board member for Nisei Veterans Memorial Center of Maui and the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association.

Ben Rafter is a successful business executive with a proven track record of rapidly growing companies, particularly in the hospitality industry. He currently serves as a managing member of Jororo, an investor in six hotels in Hawaii. He is also CEO of OLS Hotels & Resorts, a hotel management company with properties in seven Western States including Hawaii. Among his achievements was co-founding Livebid, sold to Amazon.com, and leading Aqua Hospitality as president and CEO, during which he grew the company from a small O‘ahu hotel operator to a highly profitable resort management company with properties on all six Hawaiian Islands and the largest concentration of hotel rooms in Waikiki.

Alameda, Kimura and Rafter begin their terms with the July board meeting. Their terms end on June 30, 2022.