Visiting Rights - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

February 10, 2011

Visiting Rights

What a week it was as the Pro Bowl, Senior skins golf from Ka'anapali, and the first chartered direct flight of Chinese tourists arrived about 10-days ago. One cannot overstate the importance of all of these events, as the Midwest digs out from yet one more record snowfall and the improving economy in the Far East and elsewhere portends more visitors for Hawaii.

Of course, visitors can make choices as to where they might go, and thus the governor's decision to cut $10-million in funding out of the Hawaii Tourism Authority's $44-million marketing budget is a blow to the solar plexus of the tourism industry as it envisions clearer skies ahead after 18-months of doldrums and declines. With over $800-million in shortfall, the State undoubtedly has to make some tough spending calls. But the value of marketing to sites far and even further away might be a vital wake-up call as people start to feel better about travelling and spending.

At the same time, the governor called for more work to be done with this and other savings on facility improvements, environmental protection, and advancing culture and the arts which are, ironically, the kinds of things that matter to tourists as well as to locals. Let's hope that this marketing money can be restored at some point, but if not, let's hope that HTA and its private industry associates can still make enough noise to attract the vital visitors to our home. Think about it…

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