December 2016 E-Bulletin
Message from George D. Szigeti
President & CEO
Hawaii Tourism Authority
Aloha kakou,

We welcome the joy of the holidays comfortable in the knowledge that Hawaii’s tourism industry has enjoyed a remarkable year.

It’s been a year of challenges and successes, a year in which we were reminded how fragile tourism can be as an industry, but also how popular Hawaii is to travelers worldwide.

We thank all of tourism’s stakeholders, from our elected leaders to the front-line employees, for sharing your aloha to make the Hawaiian Islands such a magical, memorable experience. And to all of our visitors – mahalo for believing in Hawaii! We look forward to welcoming you back.

As we reflect on 2016, we look ahead to 2017 with the hope and eagerness that the promise of a new year offers to all of us.

This is indeed a special time to give thanks for the love of our family and friends, and all the happiness that life brings us every day.

I’m thankful for working with a team at the Hawaii Tourism Authority that believes so passionately in our mission and how it benefits communities and residents statewide.

I’m thankful for working in an industry alongside so many other professionals who care so deeply about the future of our islands.

Most of all, I’m thankful for living in a place the rest of the world longs to come experience, to feel our warmth, see our beauty, and embrace our aloha spirit.

Happy holidays everyone and mahalo for helping to make 2016 such a wonderful, joyous year for Hawaii tourism.

With Warmest Aloha,
Hokulea – The Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage

Malama Honua is the journey that asks us to define our path forward, challenges us to care for our communities so that they prosper and helps us share the (spirit) of Hawaii with others.

As Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) charts the course for tourism over the next five years, our new strategic plan offers the opportunity to reflect on past accomplishments, weigh present realities, and plan for the possibilities of tomorrow.

To learn more about the HTA Five-Year Strategic Plan, please visit
Dec Events
Honolulu Named Among Best Big Cities in the United States
Call it two great honors for one great city.  

Conde Nast Traveler
magazine this fall named Honolulu to its listing of “The Best Big Cities in the United States," based on a survey of more than 100,000 of its readers. Also this fall, Smart Meetings, an integrated media company and website focused on the MCI market, described the many reasons it considered Honolulu a premiere destination for hosting meetings, conventions and incentive group events in its feature, “Best Big Cities Also Among Best Meeting Cities.”

In the Smart Meetings feature, Kainoa Daines, director of sales for the Oahu Visitors Bureau, explained why Honolulu and Oahu deserved the honor.

"Oahu is a world-class cosmopolitan city with three exclusive resort areas on one island," said Daines, "this provides groups with access to the amenities and activities of a cosmopolitan city, while being able to explore the experiences and relaxation that an island destination has to offer."   

Check out the full Smart Meetings feature by clicking here:

For the full Conde Nast Traveler feature, click here:

2016 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival
Also a Multicultural Success

The annual Kona Coffee Festival is held each November with a mission of preserving and promoting Kona’s unique, now nearly 200-year old history of coffee growing and roasting.

The multiday festival is also devoted to perpetuating the story of Kona coffee’s rich cultural heritage.

Today’s Kona coffee industry is the modern-day descendant of multigenerational tenant farmers – mostly of Japanese ancestry – who first began establishing coffee plantations in the island of Hawaii’s Kona District in the early 20th century.

Their methods were built on the farming foundation of Native Hawaiians, who were the first to grow coffee in Kona.

This year’s Kona Coffee Cultural Festival showcased nearly 50 events over its 10-day run, from November 4-13. Participants in the festival, which bills itself as Hawaii’s oldest food festival, included residents of Kona’s Japanese community who brought the stories of Kona’s early coffee pioneers (circa 1920-1945) to life through depictions of what their daily lives were like.

Other highlights of the festival included tours of a historic coffee farm, a bon dance, a Japanese lantern parade and opportunities for attendees to participate in hands-on cultural activities.

Members of the Kona-area Latino community performed ethnic dances, local Filipino clubs shared food experiences, and Native Hawaiian community members demonstrated traditional skills. Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners included kapa (bark cloth) masters, lauhala (pandanus leaf) weavers, lei makers and ipu (bottle gourd) masters who instructed residents and visitors in the art of Niihau gourd design.

Throughout all of the festival’s activities, members of Hawaii’s diverse multicultural communities worked together to perpetuate the Islands’ vibrant cultural and local traditions.

For more information about the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, visit

Civilian Stories of Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Attack Shared in
New Bishop Museum Exhibit
The December 7, 1941, Imperial Japanese Navy attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor on Oahu reverberated globally and forged some of the greatest stories of heroism and tragedy in world history. Lesser known are the stories of Hawaii’s civilian population, which also endured the events of that fateful day and the aftermath of the years that followed. In honor of the recent 75th commemoration of the Pearl Harbor attack, the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu is spotlighting many of these little-known stories in its exhibit, “Homefront Hawaii.”

The exhibit opened on December 1 in conjunction with official events honoring the 75th Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and will run through March 1, 2017, in Portico Hall in the museum’s Hawaiian Hall Complex.
Barbed wire on Waikiki’s Beaches

All easily accessible coastlines of the Hawaiian Islands – including Waikiki’s beaches – were quickly lined with barbed wire after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor.

Here, a tangle of wire blocks access to the sands of Kuhio Beach from the Kalakaua Avenue sidewalk. (Ray Jerome Baker, Bishop Museum Archives)
With stories brought to life via archival images and items from Bishop Museum and expert collectors, the exhibit offers visitors an opportunity to see how World War II transformed Hawaii and its residents. The exhibit’s displays feature rarely-seen photos of explosion-damaged Honolulu streets, a fortified Waikiki Beach protected with barbed wire, and a bomb shelter at Iolani Palace, as well as other historic photographs. Period artifacts, including the remnants of a Japanese plane shot down in combat, are also part of the exhibit.

More than 100 civilians perished in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Within a day of the strike, then Territorial Governor Joseph Poindexter agreed with a decision to place Oahu under martial law. Over the three years that followed, constitutional rights in the Territory of Hawaii were suspended then reinstated, but only after numerous court challenges.
December 7 Civilian Damage

The worst damage to civilian areas in Honolulu caused by the Pearl Harbor attack occurred at the corner of King and McCully Streets.

In this photo, a charred bedspring and barber chairs at the site are seen amidst sheets of corrugated metal roofing. The explosion that set off fires destroying several wood buildings in this location was actually caused by a U.S. Navy anti-aircraft shell. (Private collection)
Hawaii citizens were subjected to strict curfews as the U.S. military took over all territorial government functions. Curfews were even stricter for citizens of Japanese ancestry.

“The December 7 attack on Oahu was focused primarily on the military,” says Bishop Museum historian DeSoto Brown. “But through this exhibit, we hope to give everyone a fuller sense of the totality of this event by showing how the attacks dramatically changed an entire way of life for the people of Hawaii.”

The “Homefront Hawaii” exhibit is generously supported by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) and the Oahu Visitors Bureau (OVB).

Hawaii Tourism Japan Holds Media Event in Tokyo
Hawaii Tourism Japan (HTJ) held a media event in Tokyo in October to promote its marketing direction and share updates about Hawaii market trends.

The event offered an opportunity and platform for 16 industry partners to network and discuss future business opportunities with more than 115 members of the Japanese media.

The October 5 event also allowed HTJ to secure media coverage from eight media outlets – including magazines and television stations – to be distributed at the end of 2016 and in early 2017.
Yukyu Hawaii Campaign Activities
Yukyu Hawaii campaign happenings this fall included collaborations between Hawaii Tourism Japan (HTJ) and Aloha Table restaurant in Waikiki, which reached 54,258 consumers and sold 5,387 Yukyu Hawaii menu items. 

HTJ also collaborated with Shonan T-Site, a large bookstore in Tokyo’s Kanagawa Prefecture home to 30 specialty themed shops.

In November, a travel corner was created in Shonan T-Site to promote Yukyu Hawaii, retailing more than 100 Hawaii-related goods to entice the bookstore’s 160,000 monthly customers.
HTJ Works with Local Partners to Promote New Hawaii Hotels, Restaurants, Activities and Retail Stores to Japanese Consumers
Hawaii Tourism Japan (HTJ) held two educational sessions in November that attracted 85 travel agents. 

On November 8, HTJ collaborated with The Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach to host a webinar updating 62 travel agents on the new property and promote it to Japanese consumers. 

On November 17, HTJ worked with Marriott International and China Airlines to provide updated Oahu information – including new restaurants, activities and retail stores – to 23 top wholesale agents.
Out-of-Home Advertisement Campaign in Japan
Hawaii Tourism Japan (HTJ) continued to implement various out-of-home media advertisements in Japan, including video ads, running from October 3-9, on nine Tokyo Metro Lines with 7.1 million passengers daily.

HTJ also utilized digital signage at Nagoya Station for video ads that ran 5,440 times, from October 17-30, on the station’s 60-inch digital displays, reaching 398,200 daily commuters.
BigBang Made [VIP] Tour Comes to Hawaii

Hawaii Tourism Korea (HTK), an official sponsor of the international BigBang Made [VIP] Tour, worked with the popular K-pop boy band BigBang’s management company, YG Entertainment, to distribute a joint press release and newsletter promoting the band’s October concert in Hawaii.

With the majority of BigBang's fans based in the U.S., Korea, Japan and China, the concert proved a major Oahu draw, bringing more than 5,000 international visitors to the island. HTK also developed post-tour products with 10 major Korean travel agencies to position Hawaii as an entertainment hub and “hot” destination Korean celebrities love to visit.

Well-Known Australian Burn Survivor Competes in
2016 Kona IRONMAN World Championship
In October, Hawaii Tourism Oceania (HTO) partnered with IRONMAN Asia-Pacific and well-known Australian burn-survivor-turned-athlete and motivational speaker Turia Pitt to promote her "Road to Kona" journey to participate in the 2016 IRONMAN World Championship.

In 2011, Pitt suffered burns to 65 percent of her body when she was caught in a firestorm while competing in a 62-mile ultra-marathon in Australia.

The 29-year-old completed the 2016 IRONMAN World Championship’s 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26-mile marathon-run, crossing the finish line in Kailua-Kona town in 14 hours, 37 minutes and 30 seconds..

The inaugural Hawaiian IRONMAN Triathlon was conceived in 1977 to challenge athletes who had experienced success in endurance swimming, running and biathlon events.
Aussies Meet Up with Hawaii Residents for
"Road Less Traveled" Experience
In November, Hawaii Tourism Oceania (HTO) launched The Experience Aloha campaign with a mission of encouraging Australians to explore Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the island of Hawaii through the eyes of four Australia-based social influencers, via video, photo and blog content.

HTO’s largest integrated consumer campaign ever, Experience Aloha, featured a dedicated microsite with a content narrative of HTO sending the four Australian influencers to Hawaii and teaming them with residents for a "road less traveled" experience of the Islands.  

The campaign was promoted across the platforms of Fairfax Media – Australia’s second-largest media group, which boasts more than a million subscribers – and encouraged viewers to book a Hawaii holiday with special deals offered by MyHawaii. The campaign ran from November 11 through December 7 and will repeat during the last two weeks of January 2017.
Hawaii Promoted at First Hong Kong Hula Competition
Hawaii Tourism Hong Kong (HTHK) was one of the principal sponsors of the First Hong Kong Hula Competition, held in October and organized by the Hong Kong International Hula Association. 

Seventy-two participants and 15 contestant groups from Hong Kong and Japan attended the event, with winners and participants receiving limited-edition ukuleles and Hawaii-themed magazines sponsored by HTHK.

The competition promoted the Aloha Spirit, increasing awareness of Hawaii as a must-visit destination among members of the Hong Kong International Hula Association.

Dancers and hula enthusiasts were treated to a wonderful afternoon of friendly competition.
Hawaii Recognized as “Best Destination – America” in Travel Weekly Asia’s 2016 Readers Choice Awards
Hawaii was awarded the honor of “Best Destination – America” in Travel Weekly Asia’s 2016 Readers Choice Awards.

The travel content provider’s annual award competition recognizes leading companies in the travel industry and acknowledges their commitments, contributions and achievements.  

Kelvin Ong of Hawaii Tourism Southeast Asia accepted the “Best Destination – America” award on behalf of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Inaugural Media FAM from Singapore and Malaysia by
Hawaii Tourism Southeast Asia
Hawaii Tourism Southeast Asia (HTSEA) led its inaugural Hawaii media familiarization tour in October, with five participants representing Time Out Malaysia, Time Out Singapore, Escape Asia, Escape Malaysia, Lonely Planet Asia, Lonely Planet Singapore, Jalan Jalan Travel Malaysia and others in attendance.

The group’s first stop was the island of Hawaii where they participated in a sunset and stargazing tour of dormant Mauna Kea volcano, as well as a summit tour of currently very active Kilauea volcano, which for many participants marked their first in-person view of an erupting volcano.

On Maui, the group departed Haleakala volcano mesmerized after watching sunrise from its summit, and took in breathtaking views of the island from the cockpit of a helicopter.

On Oahu, the media group visited Kualoa Ranch’s private nature reserve and took a tour of the ranch’s many sites where Hollywood movies have been filmed since the 1950s. Also on Oahu, the group experienced a taste of Laie town culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Hukilau Market, as well as the center’s evening luau and many cultures of its Polynesian villages.
Sharing Hula Fitness Fun in Chengdu and Shanghai
Hawaii Tourism China (HTC) kicked off its Happy Healthy Hawaii campaign this fall with a Hula Fitness Fun initiative, with classes in Chengdu on October 21 and Shanghai on October 25.

HTC worked with Chengdu CHING Fitness Center and Shanghai Will's Gym to reach out to the more than 430,000 members of both gyms about the hula fitness classes. 

The campaign utilized Will's and CHING's WeChat, in-store electronic screens, posters and banners, as well as 26 media and Key Opinion Leaders to promote the classes, which eventually attracted about 100 fitness enthusiasts in Chengdu and Shanghai.

The gym members and media in attendance enjoyed the elegant hula and beautiful ukulele music, with many expressing interest in experiencing the Hawaiian Islands in person.
Hawaii Showcased in 2016 China International Travel Mart
Hawaii was represented by Hawaii Tourism China (HTC) at the China International Travel Mart (CITM), the largest travel trade exhibition in China, held in Shanghai in November.  

HTC set up a 36-square-meter booth with a performance stage, VR experience area and business networking area, and assembled eight co-exhibitors to promote Hawaii to Chinese trade partners and the public. The Hawaii booth was among more than 2,000 exhibition booths at CITM 2016.

HTC talked with dozens of mainstream media during the three-day event. Randy Baldemor and Jadie Goo of Hawaii Tourism Authority sat for interviews with 15 renowned media entities, including CCTV, Shanghai TV,,, and Shanghai Daily.  

A total of 192 B2B appointments were arranged between HTC co-exhibitors and trade partners during the first two days of the exhibition, with more than 200 trade partners and 500 FIT consumers visiting HTC’s booth for business networking and consulting.

HTC’s eight co-exhibitors offered enormous support to the trade show and made it more engaging. The co-exhibitors included Wasabi International Tours, Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki, American International Travel Services, Hawaii Global Holiday, Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pan-Pacific Enterprises Group, and Dragon Tours and Travel.
2017 Happy Healthy Hawaii Kick-Off Press Conference in Beijing
A group of 38 top travel and comprehensive media attended a November press conference in Beijing launching the 2017 Happy Healthy Hawaii initiative. The event also featured the awarding of the Ambassador of Happy Healthy Hawaii title to tai chi master Ren Guang-Yi.  

Travel Channel, Beijing TV,, China Daily and TTG conducted interviews with Randy Baldemor and Jadie Goo of Hawaii Tourism Authority and Renee Ho-Phang of Hawaii Tourism China after the press conference.

Inaugural Media FAM from Hong Kong by Hawaii Tourism Hong Kong
In November, Hawaii Tourism Hong Kong (HTHK) partnered with United Airlines to lead its first-ever Hawaii media familiarization (aka FAM) tour.

Eight Chinese and English journalists working across 16 print and online publications took part in the seven-day tour, which featured an itinerary showcasing the best of Oahu, Maui and the island of Hawaii, from glimpses of Honolulu’s vibrant city life to multiple activities in Hawaii’s natural environment.

The media group enjoyed a tasty Honolulu food tour by Aloha Food Tour, visited a stunning nature reserve on Oahu’s North Shore, hiked active Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii, and took a breathtaking helicopter ride over Maui. The group was also offered opportunities to gather together to share their newfound knowledge of Hawaii.

Thanks to the generosity of United Airlines, the Island Chapter Bureaus, direct marketing organizations and hotel and restaurant partners who sponsored airline tickets, accommodations, meals and ground transportation, the FAM tour was a huge success.

Post-trip feedback from attending journalists has been extremely positive and HTHK is looking forward to seeing all of the journalists' Hawaii work, which will reach nearly 7 million readers in Hong Kong.  
Hawaii Brought to Life at Taipei International Travel Fair
Hawaii Tourism Taiwan (HTT) collaborated with China Airlines and several travel partners at the 2016 Taipei International Travel Fair (ITF) in November, which featured more than 1,450 booths, with 950 tourism organizations from 60 countries and regions worldwide represented. The four-day fair attracted more than 350,000 visitors.

Booths from China Airlines and the travel partners offered hula performances to promote Hawaii and introduced new customized travel packages created and launched exclusively for ITF. HTT also showcased HTA’s new GoHawaii mobile app and Hawaii VR virtual reality videos at ITF.
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.