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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Trade mission targets Fukuoka

By Sean Hao
Advertiser Staff Writer

A delegation of state and business officials leaves today for a four-day trade mission to Fukuoka, Japan.

The trip also marks the 25th anniversary of Hawai'i's sister-state relationship with the Fukuoka Prefecture.

The mission was organized by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; the Department of Agriculture; and the O'ahu Visitors Bureau. Twelve vendors representing 24 companies will be promoting Hawai'i food, flowers, music, travel and apparel during the trip.

Events will include a gala dinner, Hawaiian music concert and consumer and trade shows.

The cost to the state is about $153,400, which excludes $10,000 contributed by Fukuoka Prefecture and $3,600 in participation/delegate fees.

The O'ahu Visitors Bureau is spending about $50,000 on the mission, which includes the costs associated with taking musicians and dancers to Japan. The idea is to draw tourists from cities other than Tokyo and Osaka, which now are among the two largest sources for the state's Japanese visitors, said Les Enderton, executive director for the O'ahu Visitors Bureau.

The trade mission "is an opportunity to target potential first-time visitors from a good feeder city for Hawai'i," he said.

Fukuoka, located on the island of Kyushu, is Japan's eighth-largest city with a population of 1.2 million.

Reach Sean Hao at shao@honoluluadvertiser.com.