Kauai hires its first destination manager

Patricia Ornellas has been named destination manager for the Kauai Visitors Bureau, a position that was created this year.

The role, funded by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, includes leading the Garden Isle’s efforts to implement the newly created Destination Management Action Plan, a series of items developed over the course of a handful of community meetings that are intended to better balance tourism with resident needs.

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“As Kauai’s travel industry continues to rebound from the unprecedented events of 2020, the time is now to reconnect and align the visitor industry with our island community’s values,” Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau, said in a statement.

Ornellas spent 15 years in the hospitality industry in a variety of roles, including front of house operations, room and revenue management and working with travel wholesalers. Most recently, Ornellas spent the past seven years as the American Cancer Society’s development manager for the Kauai field office.

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Destination Management Action Plans have been developed or are currently in the works for all of Hawaii’s islands that visitors travel to and cover goals through 2023. The Kauai plan was formulated by a 21-member steering committee representing members of the community, visitor industry and other sectors.

The action items address a range of issues, including improving the visitor experience; creating positive economic and quality of life contributions for Kauai’s residents; preserving Kauai’s culture; and protecting the island and its natural resources.

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