Outrigger Asks Airlines to Help Promote Hawaii

By Tony Bartlett

HONOLULU -- Outrigger Hotels & Resorts challenged airlines serving Hawaii to come up with $10 million -- a quarter of the $40 million they will save annually through a recent suspension of landing fees -- to promote the state. "If the airlines do that, we believe the local tourism industry should match it with another $10 million," David Carey, Outrigger president and chief executive officer, said. Outrigger, he said, would contribute $1 million.

The challenge came one week after Gov. Ben Cayetano imposed a two-year moratorium on landing fees, backdated to Sept. 1, to boost the state's sagging arrivals. Carey proposed that the $20 million be used for U.S. mainland television advertising. "We need to maintain a presence where it counts," he said, noting that cruise lines, Las Vegas, Mexico, Bermuda and Australia "are all heavy television advertisers and do a good job in attracting vacationers."

Cayetano applauded the proposal and urged businesses to meet the challenge. "The result of this marketing plan will be a real shot in the arm for Hawaii's economy," he said. Carey noted that tourism accounts for 25% of the state's economy in direct dollars and an estimated 50% contribution with the trickle-down, or multiplier, effect.

He said he would like to see a dedicated source of funding for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau at "a level that would allow us to compete internationally." This fiscal year, HVCB has state funding of $26 million.

Its $25 million in state funding for last fiscal year was boosted by a $10 million emergency marketing appropriation, passed by the Legislature in March when tourism was down. The additional $10 million was spent during the spring and early summer on television advertising on the mainland and in Japan.

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