Chris Tatum, the president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, is resigning.

According to a press release from the HTA, after a 40-year career “dedicated to serving the hospitality industry and working to make a positive difference for Hawaii,” Tatum’s last day will be August 31.

Tatum leaves at an unusual time. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hawaii tourism has virtually ground to a halt.

Chris Tatum, CEO and President of the Hawaii Visitors Authority speaks during the COVID-19 Conavirus Committee meeting held at the Legislature.

Chris Tatum, CEO and President of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, is stepping down.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Tatum was appointed to the top tourism position for the state in December 2018 after a 37-year career with Marriott International.

HTA Board Chair Rick Fried said in the press release, “Chris is smart, candid, always puts the residents of Hawai‘i first, and, most importantly to me, is unfailingly honest. When he asked to come to my office on Monday, I assumed it was just to discuss various HTA matters as we often do. After a few minutes of talking he handed me a brown envelope with his resignation letter and explained his thinking. I deal with many sad cases, but I teared up when it became clear his decision was final.”

Tatum’s career started as a housekeeping houseman at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel during summers home from college.

Tatum and his wife Peg plan to relocate to Colorado.

“After 40 years in a 24/7 industry, I’m looking forward to traveling with Peg and spending quality time with my daughter Sam and son Alex,” said Tatum. “I’m blessed to have grown up and raised our kids in the islands and Hawaii will always be our home.”

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