News Staff Admin
posted on November 09, 2011 09:06
Star-Advertiser, Opportunity comes ashoreOpportunity comes ashore
By Allison Schaefers
Two years ago Hawaii's visitor industry lost a staggering $97.6 million in revenues when business groups began canceling isle trips out of concern for how politicians and the public would view them during a time of economic collapse and bailouts.
After President Barack Obama and Congress spoke out against frivolous business travel, companies were leery that bad press from a trip to Hawaii would last longer than the sunburn. Lawmakers told companies that received government loans not to mimic AIG, which took an $85 billion bailout and then spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on events like an overseas hunting party and a golf outing.
The ensuing drop in business travel to places like Hawaii, which saw its meetings, convention and incentive segment fall nearly 16 percent between 2008 and 2010, came to be known as the "AIG affect."
If this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit is a success, tourism and business leaders hope to get an "APEC affect," where images of world leaders amid the islands' scenic splendor will solidify Hawaii as a place for business as well as leisure.
"A lot will be gained by demonstrating that Hawaii is more than a place to vacation," said Randy Tanaka, chief operating officer for the APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee. "'Hawaii is a great place to meet your Asian counterparts' will be part of the message."
Besides potentially boosting business tourism, the event also offers Hawaii businesses in industries like renewable energy, health and life science, astronomy and earth and ocean sciences the chance to build relationships with Asia-Pacific partners and consumers, APEC supporters say.
Read on for full article: http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/20111109_opportunity_comes_ashore.html?id=133517563