RIMPAC expected to boost Hawaii's economy
While the focus at RIMPAC will be raising the level of maritime training and cooperation among countries taking part in the biennial exercises, the war games will also help lift Hawaii's economy.
The big guns have arrived for Rim of the Pacific exercises known as RIMPAC.
While the focus will be on raising the level of maritime training and cooperation among countries taking part in the biennial exercises, the war games will also help lift Hawaii's economy.
Military ships arriving from around the world are a welcome sight for many island businesses.
52 ships and submarines will bring in more than 25,000 sailors and personnel for the Rim of the Pacific exercises.
"We definitely see a boost every other year when RIMPAC happens. We do get an influx of military people from all different countries," said Michael Gelfo, the Manager at Rock Island Cafe.
Gelfo said the cafe is especially appealing to international visitors, and there will be 25 other countries joining the US for the month-long maritime exercise.
"They seem to like to come into our place because it celebrates America, and everything we've got going on from Coca-Cola to Elvis, burgers and pizza, beer and Mai Tais," added Gelfo.
RIMPAC training will include war games as well as counter-piracy operations and disaster relief drills.
Before all the action takes place on the water though, many will head ashore to eat, take part in activities and shop.
"For us here it is mainly anything for the beach for men and women. So board shorts, rash guards for the guys, and bikinis," said Manager Chris Lehano, with RVCA & Billabong.
Located across the street from Waikiki's world famous beach, RVCA & Billbong stores see a lot of business, even before all the RIMPAC ships and sailors arrived.
"We've had from the beginning of the week, a few today as well as their family members. So we've been seeing them come through," said Lehano.
RIMPAC doesn't end until August 2, but some of the training will also take place in Southern California waters. While much of the time, sailors will be at sea.
"Compared to the big conventions, which is a little more fun and play, and they end up buying a lot. RIMPAC people are here more for drills and whatnot, so their shopping time is a lot more limited I think," added Lehano.
Even with more limited time on shore, the large influx of sailors still generates an estimated $50 million to the island's economy.
RIMPAC also includes countries beyond the pacific, and this year will be the first for Brazil, Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam to participate.