Study: HVCB ads drew isle visitors

The $10 million that the state spent last spring on an emergency program to boost Hawaii’s waning tourism industry paid off handsomely, according to a study made public today.

Altogether 3.2 million Americans and 5.1 million Japanese made plans to visit Hawaii between the beginning of 1998 and the end of June next year, said the Toronto-based research firm Longwoods International. The challenge is to convert the intent to travel into actual trips, said Bill Siegel, Longwoods president.

At the request of the tourism industry and Gov Ben Cayetano in April, the state Legislature appropriated $10 million to market Hawaii on the mainland and in Japan.

The $4 million advertising campaign in key U.S. markets, built around the theme “Islands of Aloha,” reached an estimated 33.4 million travelers, Siegel told a meeting of the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, which placed the advertising and commissioned the follow-up research.

The campaign had no effect on the number of trips planned for the period right after the advertisements were seen, the August-December period of 1997, the research showed.

However, surveys showed that 300,000 Americans who had seen the advertising made plans for trips in the first half of this year and another 2.9 million have planned trips for the period July 1998 through June 1999.

The $6 million spent in Japan, starting last April, resulted in 1.03 million trips planned for January-June 1998 and 4.08 million trips for July 1998 through June 1999, the study showed.

Longwoods will do more research to find out how many of those reached by the emergency-spending campaign actually came.

Longwoods conducted the research largely by mailed questionnaires. Studying actual results from the $7.87 million that the HVCB spent on U.S. advertising in 1994, Longwoods concluded that 7.2 million “intended” trips resulted in 757,000 actual trips in the next two years. They generated an estimated $1 billion in visitor spending and $75.5 million in tax revenues.

“Taxpayer dollars invested in Hawaii in 1994 have paid off in a big way,” Siegel said.