Visitors to Shanghai expo will get a taste of the Islands
Chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, Hawaiian entertainment and the world's largest aloha shirt will greet visitors when they enter the USA Pavilion during Hawai'i Week at the Shanghai World Expo next month.
The Hawai'i Tourism Authority, which is sponsoring the event June 6 to 12, said it will be an opportunity to "showcase Hawai'i to a worldwide audience."
Gov. Linda Lingle will lead the 32-member delegation, which will include HTA officials, state lawmakers and a contingent of 19 local entertainers. The HTA budgeted $448,000 to cover costs related to the event.
"Our activities at the expo will create international exposure for Hawai'i, help to foster important relationships with China's government, travel officials, travel trade and media, and will serve as an opportunity to educate millions of potential Chinese visitors about Hawai'i," said Mike McCartney, president and chief executive officer of the HTA.
"Our efforts in Shanghai also will serve as a significant prelude to next year's 2011 APEC world leaders' meeting."
Lingle will be accompanied by two of her security staff. House Speaker Calvin Say also will make the trip along with Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, who will attend on behalf of Senate President Colleen Hanabusa.
The HTA will send four staff members, including McCartney and marketing director David Uchiyama. Four HTA board members also will attend.
The HTA budget will cover sponsorship fees for Hawai'i representation in the USA Pavilion as well as expenses related to promote Hawai'i Week and Hawai'i Day, including Hawaiian entertainment, travel and additional costs related to event staging and functions, the HTA said.
During Hawai'i Week, the sights, sounds and tastes of the Islands will be featured at the USA Pavilion. Hawaiian music and entertainment will be featured on multiple stages with rotating Hawai'i images shown on several large electronic screens as a backdrop.
Two jumbo Hilo Hattie aloha shirts, including the world's largest aloha shirt as certified by Guinness World Records (size 400-XL), will also be on display.
The Hawai'i delegation will participate in various events during Hawai'i Week, including a reception scheduled for June 7, sponsored by Marriott Hotels and Resorts in Hawai'i, for government and visitor industry officials from China.
Hawai'i Day events on June 8 include a press conference, a parade featuring Hawaiian entertainers, and an Aloha Night dinner reception with an estimated 100 VIP guests from China including government officials, travel trade partners, major tour wholesalers, airline partners and media.
The expo is expected to draw more than 70 million visitors, and 190 countries and 50 international organizations are scheduled to participate.