John De Fries
President & CEO, Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority
About this speaker
As the head of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, John De Fries leads the state’s pivot toward regenerative tourism, which seeks to balance the economics of tourism with the wellbeing of our communities and natural resources. De Fries took the helm of the agency in September 2020 – six months into the global pandemic, a prime opportunity for the reinvention of Hawaiʻi’s largest industry around the concept of mālama (care, protection, stewardship). Born in Waikīkī before it became the economic center of Hawaiʻi tourism, De Fries was raised by family elders steeped in Hawaiian culture. He has five decades of professional experience in tourism and resort development.