The Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau has created a destination manager position.
Patricia “Patti” Ornellas will fill the new role, which is funded by Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA). She will lead efforts to implement and execute the goals and vision of Kaua‘i’s Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP), with an emphasis on perpetuating Kaua‘i as a destination focused on regenerative tourism and mindful travel.
“As Kaua‘i’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,” said Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau. “Patti will play an integral role in this process as we continue to encourage our visitors to travel pono, preserve the natural beauty of Kaua‘i and maintain the health and well-being of its people and culture through ongoing programs and initiatives.”
Ornellas spent 15 years in the hospitality industry taking on a variety of roles, including front-of-house operations and homeowner assistance. While serving in those roles, her responsibilities also consisted of room and revenue management, working with travel wholesalers and handling owner and guest concerns. Most recently, Ornellas spent the past seven years as the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) development manager for the Kaua‘i field office. At ACS, Ornellas focused on island fundraising activities, events, and grant funding, and collectively raised $1.89 million for the ACS mission, helping to continue the support of programs and services for cancer patients.
“When the opportunity arose to be a part of KVB, I thought, ‘what better way to continue my efforts and past experiences. I could actually become a part of an organization to help make a difference within my island community… my home,’” said Ornellas. “I feel blessed, honored, and enthusiastic to join the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau and am eager to start engaging with our community.”
Ornellas holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with an emphasis on Public Relations. In her free time, she is a professional hula dancer and makeup artist.
“Patti’s community involvement and outreach experience will be essential to providing Kaua‘i residents with a greater voice in tourism and implementing the DMAP actions, the majority of which are well underway,” said Caroline Anderson, HTA’s director of planning. “Her efforts will support HTA’s overarching mission of Mālama Ku‘u Home (caring for my beloved home) for the betterment of our community.”
The Kaua‘i DMAP is a three-year plan (2021-23) with a goal to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism. A 21-member steering committee representing members of the community, visitor industry, and other sectors developed action items aimed at improving the visitor experience, creating positive economic and quality of life contributions to Kaua‘i’s residents, preserving Kaua‘i’s culture, and protecting its land and natural resources.