SMT to combat slump in Hawaii tourism

HONOLULU, HI: Dependent on airplanes to deliver tourists, the

Hawaii Visitors & Conventions Bureau (HVCB) is making emergency plans to

revive a tourism industry sagging by more than 40% since September

11.



Hotels with normal occupancy rates of 80-85% are at 40% occupancy or

lower, according to The New York Times. Hawaii Business magazine placed

the occupancy rate closer to 30%.



According to the HVCB, more than 25 groups and 350 individual travelers

have cancelled trips to the islands. Tourism authorities expect the

losses to top the downturn seen during the Gulf War, when Hawaii's

tourism traffic dropped by 25%.



As a first step to getting the rates back up, the HVCB has hired On The

Scene Productions to do an SMT. The goal is to use the media to talk to

consumers about Hawaii's tourism issues as related to the terrorist

attacks on September 11. HVCB president Tony Vericella will do 15-30

minute interviews in which he'll talk about tourism in general, how

tourism promotes understanding of other people and cultures, as well as

Hawaii's own experience being a "Ground Zero" when Pearl Harbor was

bombed 60 years ago.



The HVCB employs Honolulu-based McNeil Wilson Communications as PR

agency of record.



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