Twenty-two pages of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, which hit newsstands last week, featured models posing on location in Kauai.

Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau (KVB), said Sports Illustrated approached her last March about featuring the Garden Isle in the 2015 issue. After finalizing the details, the KVB partnered with Kauai County to pay the publication $70,000, securing swimwear shoots that took place in April at 10 locations around the island.

“The value of the magazine is pretty substantial,” Kanoho said. “I think it’s pretty prestigious just to be chosen as one of the destinations, [and] to me it’s just a great opportunity to be associated with the brand.”  

According to KVB officials, more than 62 million people in the U.S will read the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. One full page of advertising in the issue sells for $400,000.

Kanoho noted that Kauai will receive additional exposure online, including a Kauai-focused video appearing on the Sports Illustrated website, and more on-location filming from the island is part of a five-part Swimsuit Issue TV special airing on the Travel Channel.

“I think anybody who takes a gander at the video, and the images in the magazine, might say, ‘Hmm. That looks like a nice place to visit,’” Kanoho said.

Five different models, all of whom stayed at the St. Regis Princeville during shooting, were photographed at Kauai locations like Waimea Canyon, Polihale Beach on the West Coast, the island’s National Tropical Botanical Garden and Kee Beach on the North Shore. Kanoho was present during most of the shooting and said she worked with the Sports Illustrated crew to choose locations on the island that visitors could access themselves during a stay.

“We often get phone calls from people who say, ‘I want to go there. I want to be right there,’” Kanoho said of visitor inquiries following TV or magazine exposure. “So that’s why you want to make sure what we are showing is something that can be done by all as opposed to an isolated, never-going-to-happen-again thing. That’s not helpful for a destination.”

Kauai was last featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1989.

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