HONOLULU, Hawaii – More than 60 Hawaii Companies just completed participating in the 2016 Tokyo International Gift Show (TIGS). This year marks the fifth consecutive year that the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) organized a Hawaii Pavilion at TIGS, which was held September 7 – 9, 2016, at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center (Tokyo Big Sight).
“The gift show is an opportunity for Hawaii companies that are interested in exporting their products to Japan,” said First Lady Dawn Ige, who had the opportunity to visit the vendors in person, while in Japan. “Hawaii has a very strong brand identity, and it was great to see our state was well-represented.”
This year, DBEDT recruited 62 Hawaii companies to fill 28 booths, which made up the Hawaii Pavilion. Last year’s gift show resulted $5.4 million in export sales by Hawaii’s participating vendors. This year’s exhibitors are expected top $13 million in export sales.
“Expansion of the state’s trade sector will diversify and grow our local economy,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “Through TIGS, Hawaii’s products are showcased around the world and have received international recognition for its quality and uniqueness. The value of the Hawaii brand is priceless in the global economy.”
“This is the largest trade show that the state participates in, both by the number of vendors from Hawaii, as well as the size for the whole exhibition,” said Dennis Ling, administrator DBEDT’s Business Development and Support Division. “With the help of the Small Business Administration, this event has allowed us to dramatically increase our sales and our brand in the Japan market.”
Bella Hughes, owner of Shaka Tea added: “With DBEDT’s support we’ve been able to not only participate and make important business connections in Japan, but have also navigated the process of exporting our Hawaiian mamaki iced teas into the country. We’re walking away from this experience with some very strong distribution leads, and the professional foundation to really succeed in this market.”
Jewelry Maker Phillip Rickard noted: “Most of our customers are Japanese, and TIGS makes it easier to meet the people and companies needed to increase business. This experience is invaluable, especially the feeling of camaraderie and the information you gain from other vendors on how to do business in Japan.”
Dylan Butterbaugh, owner of Manoa Chocolates said: “It was a blast. It’s Japan, and exciting. You never know who you’re going to meet. This show has allowed us to make a lot of good connections that will carry on for many years. The opportunity to collaborate with everyone who has done it for years is a great learning experience.”
TIGS is the largest international trade show in Japan, drawing 200,000 buyers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers to meet exhibitors at more than 4,500 booths spread out over Tokyo Big Sight exhibition area.