Hawaii Tourism Authority approves US$3.4 million for marketing push

The state Tourism Authority yesterday approved US$3.4 million for marketing the islands of Hawaii in Japan, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

David Uchiyama, head of marketing for the agency, said the money came from the US$10 million “marketing opportunity fund” set aside by the board last month to swiftly respond to challenges facing the industry. Tourism has suffered double-digit declines in the number of arrivals over the past year.

Uchiyama said the money will be spread over several key visitor markets for Hawaii, including a slice to the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau for a west coast marketing effort.

He said the agency also will spend US$627,000 to blanket two key commuter trains in Tokyo and Osaka with images of Hawaii and also feature television advertising. That push is designed to dovetail with the Japanese imperial family’s visit to Hawaii in mid-July.

And Uchiyama said another US$25,000 is set aside for Australia and New Zealand, for which the summer season peaks in our fall, from September to November.

The authority’s board, meeting on Maui, also re-elected its chairman, Kelvin Bloom, to serve a second consecutive term. Board member Sharon Weiner will continue to serve as vice chairwoman.

“During these challenging times, Kelvin and Sharon’s experience and demonstrated leadership will help us move forward as we look for ways to address the issues that currently face Hawaii’s visitor industry,” said Mike McCartney, president and chief executive officer of the agency.

Bloom was appointed to the HTA board in 2006. He has more than 30 years of experience in Hawaii’s hospitality industry and is the president of Aston Hotels & Resorts.

He previously served as the founding president of Castle Resorts & Hotels, chief operating officer of The Castle Group, and vice president of Village Resorts Hawaii Region.

Weiner is the vice president of global communications and government relations for DFS Group Limited.

She previously served on the HTA board from 2002 to 2006 and was reappointed in 2008. Weiner has more than 30 years of experience working with Hawaii’s visitor industry.