News Releases

HTA Announces New Board Members

For Immediate Release: April 27, 2021
HTA Release (21-11)

2021-04-27 HTA Announces New Board Members.pdf

HONOLULU – The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is pleased to welcome three new appointees to serve on its Board of Directors – Oahu and Kauai restaurateur Dylan Ching; expert waterman, environmentalist and surf shop owner Keith “Keone” Downing; and renowned co-founder of an iconic apparel brand, cultural practitioner and educator Sigmund “Sig” Zane of Hawaii Island.

Governor David Ige recently nominated the three individuals to serve on HTA’s board, with their appointments confirmed by the Hawaii State Senate earlier today. Their terms are effective immediately.

“The HTA Board of Directors is diverse, dynamic, visionary and uniquely qualified to fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities and guide HTA, as our state’s lead tourism agency. This morning, it dawned on me that our three new board members, Sig, Keone, and Dylan, whom I respect and welcome, are all accomplished businessmen and avid surfers – a combination that exemplifies the balance we seek at HTA, between community, culture, and commerce. Malama pono,” said John De Fries, HTA president and CEO.

A seasoned hospitality veteran with more than 25 years of experience, Dylan Ching is the vice president of operations for TS Restaurants, which includes Duke’s Waikiki and Hula Grill Waikiki on Oahu, and Keoki’s Paradise in Poipu and Duke’s Kauai on the Garden Island. Ching currently serves as a board member for various organizations, such as the Waikiki Community Center, Waikiki Beach Special Improvement District Association, Waikiki Business Improvement District, and the Bishop Museum Association Council. A graduate of Kamehameha Schools, Ching received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of San Diego.

Keith “Keone” Downing is an expert waterman and operator of Downing Hawaii, Hawaii’s oldest surf shop. Born and raised in Honolulu, Keone is the son of big-wave pioneer George Downing, a pioneer, competitor, coach, student, innovator, and one of the last Waikiki Beach Boys mentored by Duke Kahanamoku. Keone is a principal member of the non-profit Surfing Education Association, also known as Save Our Surf, through which he has been dedicated to the preservation of Hawaii’s oceans, coral reefs, waves and beaches. Keone is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and the California School of Arts and Crafts.

Sigmund “Sig” Zane is a keiki o ka aina, a child of Hawaii, cultural practitioner, educator and one of the founders of iconic fashion apparel brand Sig Zane Designs which he and his wife Nalani Kanakaole opened in 1985 in Hilo on the island of Hawaii. From the earliest years, the ocean was Zane’s playground, learning to surf in Waikiki. Zane graduated from Roosevelt High School on Oahu and attended Hilo Community College and the University of Hawaii at Hilo on Hawaii Island. 

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