Hawaii tourism rebuts disaster claims

NEW YORK: In the wake of last week's earthquake, The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) is working with AOR McNeil Wilson Communications (MWC) to preserve the state's image as a popular and safe tourist destination.

NEW YORK: In the wake of last week's earthquake, The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) is working with AOR McNeil Wilson Communications (MWC) to preserve the state's image as a popular and safe tourist destination.

David McNeil, partner at MWC, HVCB's agency since 1992, said it was especially important to counter the images reported by mainland media, which gave the impression that the islands were in ruins. In fact, of the islands' 72,000 hotel rooms, only 100 were out of commission and no hotels were closed, he added.

In addition to distributing a press release internationally to the key tourist markets 24 hours after the earthquake, MWC also produced a b-roll package featuring interviews with hotel managers and tourists on the big island, as well as Marcia Wienert, the state tourism liaison, to assure visitors that it was business as usual.

"We shot scenes of the big island that show absolute normalcy," McNeil said. "Even as it faded away from the news people were left with the impression that things were far worse than they were. We had to correct the misinformation. We will keep doing that…until this completely fades away."

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