HVCB plans $20M promotion

HONOLULU -- The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau is spending $20 million during the next five months to lure visitors back following the September terrorist attacks. After the attacks, the bureau received an additional $2 million from the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) to spend on marketing. That funding raised the HVCB's 2001 budget to $49 million.

The HVCB also is asking the state legislature for another $10 million to add to its emergency marketing campaign. The bureau's plan, according to HVCB president Tony Vericella, will focus on marketing to travelers from the West and Midwest as well as Japan. Vericella outlined the plan during an HTA meeting, at which he asked for and received the $2 million in emergency marketing funds.

The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau started an emergency marketing plan to spark business. Left, visitors to Oahu shower off salt and sand in Waikiki. The bureau's goal, said Vericella, is to have "stable visitor arrivals by the end of the second quarter of 2002, so that by the end of June, our visitor numbers would be even with those for the same period in 2001." Part of the advertising theme for Hawaii over the next five months, said Vericella, will emphasize the "genuine spirit of our people and how it is rejuvenating to come here."

Messages also will convey Hawaii's "multiethnic and multicultural" aspects, he said. Vericella said the bureau's campaign will not address safety in Hawaii. Hawaii is already perceived as a safe destination, said Vericella, and to bring up the topic could suggest otherwise.

The target audience of Hawaii's emergency marketing plan to the U.S. will be in 21 markets, including Alaska. Vericella noted that Anchorage, Alaska, is a large potential market for Hawaii for people who want to escape the cold. It is especially enticing to Hawaii as a source of travelers, said Vericella, because every resident of Alaska receives a state government dividend from oil revenues each year that could be used on a vacation. In 2000, for example, every resident received $1,963.

Hawaii's emergency marketing plan, said Vericella, leaves out the East Coast. "We don't go to the East Coast for now," said Vericella. "When the market is ready, we will go there." The East Coast supplied 24% of Hawaii's 7 million visitors last year. Through the end of the year, Hawaii's campaign will appear in newspapers, magazines and on the Internet. Television advertising will begin in January.

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