April 2017 E-Bulletin
Message from George D. Szigeti
President & CEO
Hawaii Tourism Authority
Aloha kakou,

The importance of travel to our nation’s economy was the focus of Destination Capitol Hill, a gathering of hundreds of travel leaders organized by the U.S. Travel Association in Washington, D.C., on March 28 and 29.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) was proud to participate in this event and have our state’s voice heard on national issues affecting tourism locally.

Joining me in this advocacy effort for Hawaii’s tourism industry was HTA Director of Tourism Research Daniel Nahoopii and HTA Director of Communications Charlene Chan. Together, we addressed pressing issues for Hawaii and requested support on matters vital to the industry’s future.

Our meetings with Hawaii’s congressional delegation were especially fruitful. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono, and Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa are all huge supporters of Hawaii tourism. Each is keenly interested in how they can assist at the federal level to keep our state’s largest industry strong and sustainable for Hawaii’s communities.

Among the key issues we discussed with our congressional leaders were improving the visa waiver process, pre-clearance at Japan’s Narita and Kansai airports, and increasing funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection staffing.

These measures will improve Hawaii’s ability to attract and welcome international travelers, which aligns with HTA’s overall strategy to broaden and strengthen our base of support from markets worldwide.

Destination Capitol Hill was a resounding success in concentrating the attention of Congress on the value of tourism to our nation’s economic foundation.

Going forward, HTA will continue to collaborate with our congressional leaders on solutions to improve tourism for the Hawaiian Islands. 
With Warmest Aloha, 
George D. Szigeti
Keep Eating Local!
Rat Lungworm Disease is Very Rare and Easily Preventable

That’s the loud-and-clear message from the Hawaii State Department of Health, Department of Agriculture and Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).

A recent increase in rat lungworm infections is causing some residents and visitors to consider foregoing Hawaii’s delicious, fresh local produce.

That concern is understandable. But the Department of Health advises there is nothing to fear about potential infection if people use smart common sense when washing, preparing and storing food.

“The key facts that everyone needs to remember about rat lungworm disease is that it is very rare, it is very uncommon for people to get infected, and the disease is easily preventable by properly washing and storing all food – especially produce – before eating,” said George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO.

“For visitors planning a trip to the Hawaiian Islands in the coming months, there is no need to be overly concerned. Please patronize our restaurants and enjoy the flavorful island cuisine and fresh produce that helps make Hawaii such a beloved travel experience.”
Hawaii, which has 1.4 million residents and welcomed more than 8.9 million visitors in 2016, typically has between one to 11 cases of rat lungworm disease reported annually. So far in 2017, 11 people have been infected with the disease – nine residents and two visitors.

For reliable, trusted information about rat lungworm disease and how to prevent it, please visit the Department of Health website (www.health.hawaii.gov) and learn the facts.

Rat lungworm disease, or Angiostrongyliasis, is an infection caused by a parasitic worm in rats, slugs and snails that is passed on to people under unusual circumstances.

People get sick by eating raw or undercooked snails or slugs infected with the parasite, or from eating raw produce that harbors a small parasite-infected snail or slug, or part of either.

Most recover fully without treatment, but there is no medication or specific treatment for the disease. In the most severe cases, people can be afflicted with pain, neurological problems and disability.
National Travel and Tourism Week, May 7-13
Showcase the Faces of Hawaii Travel!
National Travel and Tourism Week is taking place the week of May 7-13 and we encourage Hawaii’s travel industry to join in this tribute to our state’s most important industry.

This year’s theme, “Faces of Travel,” focuses on the people who interact with travelers and make tourism such a vital component to our nation’s economy.
Nationwide, more than 15 million citizens rely on tourism for their livelihood. In Hawaii, tourism supports 190,000 jobs statewide – by far, the most of any industry.

National Travel and Tourism Week is a superb opportunity to proudly showcase Hawaii’s tourism professionals who help make our Islands such a popular destination.
To our industry partners, please make time during the week of May 7-13 to showcase these hardworking, dedicated professionals. Share their stories with the rest of the travel industry through social media by using the hashtag #FacesofTravel.
Mahalo Hawaii’s travel professionals!
The Heartbeat of the Hawaiian People
by Kalani Kaanaana, Hawaii Tourism Authority Director of Cultural Affairs
As we reflect on the 54th annual Merrie Monarch Festival, held last week in Hilo on the island of Hawaii, an old Hawaiian proverb comes to mind: “I lea ka hula, i ka hoopaa.” Translated, its meaning is, “the dancing is made more enjoyable by the chanter.”
Overall winner of the 54th annual Merrie Monarch Festival, Ka La Onohi Mai O Haehae
Photo provided by the  Merrie Monarch Festival.
From this proverb, we can learn that when it comes to hula, there is a synergy in all things.

This synergy begins with the dancer and continues to the dancer’s ancestors, the environment surrounding the dancer, the dancer’s relationship to other dancers, and, finally, the synergy between the dancers and their kumu hula, or master hula teacher.
What we, the audience, sees during the three main nights of the Merrie Monarch Festival – the world’s premier hula competition – is a brief glimpse of the results of months and months of preparation and years of training on the part of each participating halau hula, or hula school.

2017 Miss Aloha Hula Kelina Kiyoko Keanoilehua Tiffany Eldredge
Photo provided by the 
Merrie Monarch Festival.

Halau must be invited to compete in the festival, which is no small feat to accomplish. Beyond that, the dancers must gather their flowers and greenery, learn to make their lei, oftentimes even sew their clothes, and make personal and financial sacrifices for two seven-minute presentations of hula – one in the ancient style or hula kahiko, the other in the modern style, or hula auana.

Now that this year’s festival has concluded, we can understand why Hawaii King David Kalakaua – whose nickname gave the festival its name – once said, “Hula is the language of the heart, (and) therefore, the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people.”
Please mark your calendar and plan to join us for the 2017 Global Tourism Summit, presented by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

September 19-21, 2017
Hawaii Convention Center
1801 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
The Global Tourism Summit will be bringing together thought leaders, visionaries, suppliers, operators and travel industry stakeholders in an innovative format of networking and collaboration.

Join us to be inspired, enriched and better connected with fellow industry professionals from key markets worldwide as we address Hawaii's place in the evolving global travel marketplace.
April/May Events
Hawaii Ranks Among
China Travelers’ Top Spots for 2016

The Hawaiian Islands have won the title of "'2016 China Travelers' Top Spots - Best Honeymoon Destination" from Chinese travel services provider Ctrip.

More than 2 million people participated in online voting for Ctrip’s Top Spots awards, with 300 representatives from multiple industries – including airlines, hotels, travel agencies, travel institutions, tourism bureaus and scenic spots – attending the award ceremony.
Hawaii Tourism China Hosts
VIP Trade FAM to Maui and Oahu
With support from Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii Tourism China (HTC) initiated a VIP trade familiarization trip to Maui and Oahu, from February 16-20, for general managers of China International Travel Service (CITS) branches in eight provinces and municipalities. HTC and Beijing China International Travel Service jointly organized the FAM group.
The group stayed at and inspected eight hotels on Maui and Oahu. HTC also coordinated 14 activity and attraction visits for attendees, providing opportunities to meet with local partners.

In addition, the FAM offered attendees opportunities to learn more about visitor offerings on both islands and which island best matched their customer needs.
HTC has begun working with FAM attendees on the launching of new products and MCI leads for Maui and Oahu. Shanghai CITS has confirmed it will utilize the deck of the Battleship Missouri Memorial as a dinner venue for an upcoming MCI group. Tianjin CITS would like to promote the Lona Ridge estate on Maui to high-end groups. Additionally, Beijing CITS is in discussion with The Westin Maui Resort and Spa, Kaanapali for potential MCI groups.
HTC Promotes Hawaii in Guangzhou
HTC partnered with GZL International Travel Service Ltd., a travel agency based in Guangzhou, to promote Hawaii at the Guangzhou International Travel Fair, February 23-25.
The promotion has since resulted in 30 orders placed on GZL’s website for Hawaii travel products and a list of more than 300 potential customers HTC and GZL will contact for follow-up.

The largest and most popular tour operator in Guangdong Province, GZL was selected to help promote Hawaii utilizing newspaper ads, TV coverage, billboards, flyers, ukulele performances, interactive activities and more.
GZL had the largest booth at Guangzhou International Travel Fair, with a centralized location in the tour operator exhibition hall attracting more than 70,000 visitors over the three-day show. Hawaii was the only standalone U.S. destination utilizing the full promotion package.
Hawaii Social Media-Focused Booth Hosted
at H.I.S. LeaLea Shinjuku Hawaii Festival
On March 20, Hawaii Tourism Japan (HTJ) hosted a Hawaii Photo Props booth at the H.I.S LeaLea Shinjuku Hawaii Festival, held on Oahu. The festival, staged from March 18-20 with more than 7,500 consumers attending, featured 12 Hawaii-related businesses and several Hawaii-themed food vendors.
At HTJ’s booth, participants were offered opportunities to take photos using Hawaii-themed social media frames and props. Attendees posting their photos, as well as participants in HTJ’s newest Gohoubi Hawaii promotion activity, were also eligible to enter a giveaway contest. Combined with a seminar about Hawaii – also held at the festival – the Hawaii Photo Props booth successfully raised consumer awareness of the Islands as a vacation destination.
HTJ and ANA Hold Okayama Seminar and Trade Meeting
HTJ conducted a seminar and trade meeting with ANA sales on Yukyu Hawaii on March 13 in Okayama. The seminar, which was attended by 39 agents, featured in-person presentations of current destination information and HTJ’s promotional efforts, providing agents working in the secondary city of Okayama a deeper understanding of Hawaii.
Valuable insights offered to attendees included an introduction to the concept of maintaining work-life balance with trips to the Hawaiian Islands and emphasized the ease of travel from Okayama to Hawaii. HTJ will continue to seek additional opportunities in regional cities to actively promote Hawaii to potential travelers.
All Nippon Airways Announces Special
Hawaii-Themed Design for its Airbus A380
On March 6, All Nippon Airways announced that “Flying Honu” has been selected as the theme for its Airbus A380 aircraft, set to launch the carrier’s Tokyo-Honolulu service in spring 2019.

The final design, which features a Hawaiian green sea turtle – honu in Hawaiian, and a symbol of good luck and longevity – was selected from more than 2,000 entries.
Joining ANA in the celebration of the new "Flying Honu" design are HTA COO Randy Baldemor (third from left); HTJ Managing Director Eric Takahata (second from left) and Miss Hawaii 2016 Allison Chu.
Taiwan’s iWalker Moving Kitchen Series Airs Hawaii Episodes
Having worked with Hawaii Tourism Taiwan (HTT) since January, popular Taiwanese travel series, iWalker Moving Kitchen aired its first Hawaii episode on March 28 in Taiwan and across Asia.
The first episode was seen by more than 4.5 million viewers. Themed “Highway Party,” the episode featured several Oahu partners, including Tanioka’s Seafoods and Catering, Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, Mike’s Huli Chicken, Hertz and Prince Waikiki.

The episode was also posted on HTT’s social media pages and iWalker Moving Kitchen’s YouTube page, where it tallied more than 87,000 views as of early April.

The second episode aired on April 11, allowing the production team to spread out the new episode broadcasts and create viewer excitement for each. 

HTHK Partners with Korean Air
to Host Interactive and Educational Travel Trade Seminar

Hawaii Tourism Hong Kong (HTHK) partnered with Korean Air to host its Travel Trade Seminar on March 23 at The Mira Hong Kong hotel. Invitees included 20 top-tier travel trade partners and eight Korean Air team members, including Mr. Yu Jong Wook, regional general manager for Hong Kong and Macau, and Helen Lee, passenger deputy general manager for the carrier’s Hong Kong regional sales office.

An interactive hula, sing-along performance and the sharing of Hawaii culture from Island Mama kicked off the morning. HTHK’s travel trade partners were engaged throughout the event, which included a presentation on once-in-a-lifetime Hawaii adventures and introductions to the unique aspects of each of the islands of Hawaii.
Jocelyn Luko and Anthony Sandstrom of Transcend Photography discussed their collaboration with HTHK on its “Secret to Romance” campaign, and showcased exotic off-the-beaten-path Hawaii spots to promote the Islands as a romantic destination for Hong Kong-based travelers.

Travel partners were presented with lei and offered an amenity bag filled with Kona-grown coffee, Hawaii chocolates and Korean Air souvenirs. HTHK shared the aloha spirit with invitees throughout the seminar.
HTHK and Travel Expert Launch TV Ad
on Hong Kong's Top Broadcasting Channel

HTHK and Hong Kong-based travel services company Travel Expert launched a Hawaii television ad in March on TVB, Hong Kong's top TV network. The 20-second spot reached 11.2 million viewers, airing four to five times daily for a total of 124 airings.

The commercial showcases scenes of Hawaii's majestic natural wonders and exhilarating outdoor activities, including lava viewing on the island of Hawaii, surfing and swimming with Hawaiian green sea turtles off Oahu, whale watching on Maui, and an air tour of Kauai’s Waimea Canyon.
Hawaii Tourism Korea Joins Brand USA and United Airlines
for a Joint-Agent FAM Tour
In April, Hawaii Tourism Korea (HTK) organized a Dual-Destination FAM Tour in partnership with Brand USA and United Airlines to promote dual-city visits to Oahu and San Francisco. 
The motivation for the tour was an increasing trend among Korean travelers of scheduling more than one city in their journeys. Seven major travel agents were flown to Oahu and San Francisco for the FAM, which ran from April 10-15.

The agents are now developing dual-city packages mainly targeting Korean honeymooners, who prefer visiting multiple destinations on one of the longest vacations they will take in their working lives.
#LetHawaiiHappen in Western Canada
In March, nearly 10 million impressions were generated and 73,000 contest entries were received during a four-week Hawaii Tourism Canada (HTCAN) TV campaign covering Western Canada.

The campaign included four individual 30-second TV ads, a 15-second contest promotion commercial, and online and social media support. Partners included WestJet Vacations and Sheraton Hotels and Resorts. 
Hawaii Showcased at TravelBrands Travel Agent Trade Shows
in ­Five Canadian Cities
HTCAN took Hawaii on the road to key Canadian market cities in April as part of TravelBrands' five-city Agent Appreciation 2017 tour of events. The events for key Canadian partners engaged more than 1,600 travel agents.
Hawaii Featured in Excite Travel Agent Campaign in Oceania
Guided by Hawaii Tourism Oceania (HTO), Hawaii was one of four U.S. destinations featured in an eight-week U.S.-focused campaign promoting each locale to Excite’s B2B agent network in Australia and New Zealand.

Activities included dedicated electronic direct mail (eDM) to Excite’s database, agent collateral, training, incentives and a competition, as well as an option to attend an exclusive agent dinner with campaign participants and a select group of Excite’s top agents.
The three other destinations in the campaign were West Hollywood, Nevada and “Rhythms of the South” (Atlanta, Nashville and New Orleans).

The campaign resulted in a significant increase in sales and room nights year-over-year, especially on the neighbor islands.
Australian Sunrise Comes to Oahu and the Island of Hawaii
In addition to managing a flurry of press activity for Hawaii, HTO was kept busy in March organizing three simultaneous TV broadcasts from Waikiki Beach, Kona and Kualoa Ranch for Australia’s popular breakfast show, Sunrise.

Results are still being collected from the April 1 broadcast. In the meantime, see below for a sneak peek of how the show came together.
Hawaii Travel Searches Increase in Oceania with
HTO's New Fairfax Media Buy Campaign
As part of its 2017 integrated campaign initiative, HTO recently conducted a buy with Fairfax Media, one of Australia and New Zealand’s largest media groups.

The buy included five sponsored-content pieces across three of Fairfax’s key digital mastheads, plus a negotiated “value add” of six editorial stories across the company’s flagship Traveller print publication and online travel website. The result? Hawaii is currently the second most-searched holiday destination across the Traveller brand.
Second Phase of "Experience Your Aloha" Campaign
Launched in New Zealand
In February, HTO launched the second phase of its "Experience Your Aloha" consumer campaign for New Zealand audiences. The campaign proved a great success, achieving positive digital reach in promoting Hawaii to a highly-engaged audience.
The New Zealand results reflected a positive audience outcome similar to Australia, proportional to market size and budget spent. The results for New Zealand included:
  • Opt-in Database from competition: 4,802
  • Website Views: 24,000; Average Time on Site: 2.25 minutes; Return Visitors: 16.2 percent
  • Social media (majority invested in Facebook):

    • Facebook: 357,000 reach; 774,000 impressions; 12,000 clicks
    • Instagram: 59,000 reach; 103,000 impressions; 1,200 clicks
    • YouTube: 27,000 views; 87,000 impressions; 160 clicks
Hawaii Tourism United States Blitzes California and Washington
Hawaii Tourism United States (HTUSA) brought its U.S. West Coast Leisure Sales Blitz to Seattle in Washington, and the California cities of San Ramon, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego, March 13-17.

Events in each city included afternoon Hawaii Destination Specialist (HDS) training and Island Chapter workshops. Evenings featured a supplier trade show, lei making, live Hawaiian music, kahiko (traditional) and auana (modern) hula performances, destination presentations and supplier round-tables. 
In all, 367 travel agents attended the trade show, lunch, dinner and roundtable events; 117 agents attended the HDS training; and 145 agents attended the Island Chapter workshops.
Hawaii suppliers present during the blitz events included Pacific Beach Hotel, The Mark Travel Corporation, the Royal Lahaina and Royal Kona Resorts, Hilton Garden Inn Waikiki Beach, Honua Kai Resort and Spa, Polynesian Cultural Center, Courtyard by Marriott Oahu North Shore, GOGO Worldwide Vacations, Apple Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, Waikiki Resort Hotel, Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Delta Vacations, UnCruise Adventures, Hawaiian Airlines, Fairmont Kea Lani, Starwood Hotels and Marriott Hotels Hawaii, Aqua-Aston Hospitality, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, Travel Impressions, and Aulani - A Disney Resort and Spa.  
Promoting Hawaii in Scandinavia
In March, Hawaii Tourism Europe (HTE) conducted sales calls in Scandinavia. While in the region, staff also attended the Swanson's Travel America Travel Day in Sweden, and FDM Travel USA and Discover America events in Denmark.
Why is HTE focusing on the Scandinavian market? The Nordic region of Europe is the ninth largest economy in the world, with a well-educated population largely living in urban areas – in particular, capitals and secondary cities. Copenhagen and Southern Sweden are the region’s most densely populated areas, with internet penetration at 95 percent – among the highest rate globally.

Nordic travelers have six weeks of vacation time and 11 national holidays annually. The average annual household income is $99,901, with an average annual disposable income of $58,000.

Nordic millennials are avid travelers to the U.S. Additionally, the region’s 50-plus age group and population is also growing due to good health and high disposable income. The region itself is experiencing a rise in multi-generational travel.
Due to an increase in direct flights from the region, brief vacations in the U.S. have increased year over year. Additionally, Nordic travelers are not politically motivated when making travel choices. According to Discover America Denmark, Nordic travelers seek authentic experiences and want to experience the destinations they visit as locals do. They are also first movers and want to travel to places their neighbors haven’t visited. Culinary travel, authentic travel and local experiences are the largest trends among Nordic travelers so far in 2017.

Scandinavia represented 24,000 arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands in 2016 – an increase of 17 percent over 2015 numbers. This makes Scandinavia the third-largest European region generating Hawaii arrivals after the United Kingdom and Germany.
HTA recognizes the use of the 'okina ['] or glottal stop, one of the eight consonants of the (modern) Hawaiian language; and the kahakō [ā] or macron (e.g., in place names of Hawai'i such as Lāna'i). However, HTA respects the individual use of these markings for names of organizations and businesses. Due to technological limitations, this current communication may not include all Hawaiian diacritical markings.