2018 shaping up to be another banner year - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

2018 shaping up to be another banner year

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  With the Sony Open going on, it is easy to see that sports marketing is huge for Hawaii.
  More major sporting events in 2018 are expected to keep visitor activity flying high, after 2017's banner year for tourism.

2017 will set a record in visitor arrivals, after airlines started up or increased flights to the islands.  

"We've gone from 10 million seats just a couple of years ago to 12 million this year," said Hawaii Tourism Authority President George Szigeti.

Along with more flights from major airports to the islands, planes are taking off from previously untapped markets. 
Hawaiian Airlines just announced adding new jets and new service to Long Beach, California.

"We've invested in 18 of these state of the art aircraft and they're smaller than the existing airplanes that we fly to the US mainland which means that we can inaugurate service to new markets that previously we haven't been able to fly," said Hawaiian Airlines President Mark Dunkerley.

All that expansion means airline seat capacity is expected to jump by nearly 11 percent in the first quarter of 2018.
More visitors, who are also spending more. Which will also set a record for 2017 and help Hawaii's economy.

"Once you get the flights and access, people book hotels and activities. Those things create new jobs for local residents," stated Szigeti.

Those activities, meals, rooms and everything else visitors spend money on have also generated a record amount of state tax revenue. It is expected to add up to nearly $2 billion.
Tourism is expected to keep flying high for 2018, with more airlines, flights and international events coming in.

"We've got professional soccer coming back to Hawaii with the Pacific Rim Cup, featuring 2 teams from Japan along with 2 other teams," added Szigeti.

Hawaii uses sports to attract people to the islands, especially when other places are experiencing a bitterly cold winter.

"You showcase the Sony Open on Oahu and then go to the Big Island for the Mitsubishi Electric Championship. Then you have Pacific Rim soccer. That is going to be shown around the world. They are going to see that, and they are going to want to come here," said Szigeti.

Just like professional athletes showcased in their respective sports, Hawaii is competing with other destinations for tourists. 

"The global competition for our business is very intense. You see it from Cancun, to every where around the world. They are coming after our business," added Szigeti.
    According to the HTA, many visitors view Hawaii as a safe, clean and welcoming destination. While the tourism authority doesn't want to change that perception, it is changing the Aloha State's image to attract millennial.  HTA has been marketing Hawaii as a culinary destination with great food and drinks. So far a campaign has successfully targeted millennial in New York, which will also add to the tourism number for 2018.


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