Hawaii Tourism Authority Approves Funds to Increase Tourism

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)’s marketing committee announced yesterday that it has approved an additional $1.238 million from the marketing opportunity fund for programs that will help to stimulate short- and long-term travel to Hawaii. The funds will be used to support the following programs:

•    Shanghai Expo -- $448,000: Hawaii will have a booth in the U.S. pavilion of the Expo that is expected to attract more than 70 million people between May and October 2010. Positioning at the Expo will support the anticipated start-up of Hainan Airlines’ direct service to Hawaii from Beijing and the anticipated growth of the Chinese market;

•    Japan Airlines (JAL) Marketing -- $400,000: This program will help to keep JAL’s load factors between mid- to high- 80 percent through expanding the branding of the individual islands, working toward the potential of seasonal charter flights direct to the neighbor islands and giving first-time travelers and repeat visitors a reason to travel to Hawaii year round. JAL currently provides more than 60 percent of the inbound seat inventory from Japan. It is important to support their efforts during these challenging economic times that have forced them to eliminate service to/from other destinations;

•    Na Hoku O Hawaii Music Festival -- $150,000: This festival is set to debut May 26-30, 2010, in conjunction with the annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. The key objective is to capitalize on the connectivity Hawaiian music has around the world, especially in our key markets, to help stimulate travel to Hawaii. Approximately 3,000 to 5,000 visitors are expected to participate in workshops and seminars and experience Hawaiian music at stages throughout Waikiki; and

•    Korean Incentive Program in the Meetings, Incentive, Conference, and Exhibitions (MICE) Market -- $ 240,000: To capitalize on the Korean visa-waiver, this program will focus on securing Korea MICE groups who are starting to move from short-haul, intra-Asia destinations to long-haul destinations. Creative marketing strategies and activities will help to position Hawaii as a leading incentive travel destination and support Korean travel agents with their efforts.

“While we remain cautiously optimistic by the increase in visitor arrivals from the U.S. West over the past five consecutive months, we continue to challenge our marketing partners and staff to develop innovative ways to boost travel to Hawaii,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of HTA. “These four programs are prime examples of opportunities that arose in the marketplace that could be immediately secured through our marketing opportunity fund. I’m confident that they offer direct benefits to our visitor industry.”

The $10 million marketing opportunity fund was established in June to provide the HTA with the flexibility to fund activities that will boost travel to Hawaii. To date, $8.74 million has been appropriated from the fund.

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