Posted at 12:58 p.m., Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Agency seeking $5 million to lure business to state
By Sean Hao
Advertiser Staff Writer
The state has long sought to make Hawai'i more than just a tourism destination. However, efforts on O'ahu and the Neighbor Islands lack coordination, said Ted Liu, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, during testimony before state legislators yesterday.
Liu wants to coordinate efforts between the islands and the state's tourism and convention boards by pooling marketing money from each. DBEDT and economic development groups on Kaua'i, Maui and the Big Island, along with Enterprise Hono-lulu, would contribute about $1.5 million of their existing marketing budgets. That would be matched by another $1.5 million from the Hawai'i Tourism Authority and the Hawai'i Visitors & Convention Bureau under a preliminary agreement, Liu said.
The remaining $2 million would come from the private industry, including hotels and nontourism-related businesses.
"In my mind, anybody who would benefit from more business travel and business done in Hawai'i" would contribute, Liu said. "We've had some talks (with businesses) and they're very encouraged that there's collaboration.
"Ideally I'd like this to start as soon as possible."
The strategy for spending the money would be developed by a board representing DBEDT, the state tourism and convention boards, and Neighbor Island economic development groups. The effort would likely include outreach visits to Mainland cities by groups of people from local industries such as tourism and technology, Liu said.
Rex Johnson, director of the Hawai'i Tourism Authority, agreed with the need for all islands to work together to market the state as a home for business.
"It makes sense to pool resources rather than everybody doing their own thing," Johnson said.
Privatizing a portion of the state's marketing efforts is among the changes to DBEDT proposed by Liu yesterday.
Liu's changes would result in several new DBEDT divisions. Among them:
The strategic marketing division that would implement Liu's business promotion plan and oversee the operations of the Foreign Trade Zone.
The culture and arts division that would market the state's art and music heritage and oversee the state's film office.
The strategic industries division that would lead efforts to diversify the state's economy. It would administer work on energy, ocean and environmental technologies and collaborate with technology-oriented agencies.