George Szigeti officially started his new position last week as the president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the state's tourism agency.
"It is an honor and a privilege to have been selected by the HTA board of directors to lead the state's tourism agency," said Szigeti in a written release. "There are a lot of people, not only in the industry but throughout our communities, who are impacted by tourism. They rely on us as an industry and as an agency to support one of Hawaii's largest economic drivers. I look forward to working with our staff, partners, government and community leaders to balance and maintain success for the industry and the state."
Prior to joining the HTA, Szigeti served as the president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association (HLTA), a statewide organization representing hotels, condominiums, timeshares and other visitor industry entities. During the three years under his leadership, HLTA reorganized its operations to enhance efficiency and productivity.
As a result, Szigeti and his team helped to increase the organization's membership by 24 percent, grow its fundraising efforts through the annual Visitor Industry Charity Walk to a record $1.87 million, and enhance member and community participation in its Na Poe Paahana, which recognizes visitor industry employees, and Citizenship Awards, which recognizes outstanding students from high schools statewide.
In his role with HLTA, Szigeti supported business interests of Hawaii's visitor industry through an active involvement with the Hawaii State Legislature and Honolulu City Council. In addressing economic and social issues affecting the visitor industry, Szigeti led the formation of the Waikiki Homeless Outreach Program in collaboration with the Institute for Human Services (IHS), which helps to provide compassionate solutions to homelessness in Waikiki.