HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The Hawaii Tourism Authority’s board has allocated more than $12 million that it would have been forced to return to the state.
The money comes from the tourism special fund, which the state legislature voted to end.
“The tourism special fund is set to sunset as of Dec. 31. As of Jan. 1, it would no longer exist,” HTA Chief Administrative Officer Keith Regan told board members Thursday.
The board had to encumber the funds before then.
“In essence, anything not encumbered by June 30 would eventually revert and be swept into the general fund of the state of Hawaii,” Regan added.
The funding includes $1.5 million for a reservation program for state parks and trails, $2 million for agri-tourism, cultural tourism and nature tourism, and $1 million to increase Hawaiian language and culture at Hawaii airports.
There’s also $500,000 to increase the number of Aloha Ambassadors in Waikiki for the expected summer visitor surge.
“I think it’s exactly what…