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HTA and JATA Commit to Greeting 2 Million Japanese Visitors in 2016


Japan is the largest international market for Hawaii’s visitor industry with arrivals from the region reaching 1.2 million visitors in 2011 and is projected to reach 1.36 million in 2012. Arrivals are on the upswing again, following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country in 2011.
Last month, members of the HTA and the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) held its fourth annual Japan-Hawaii Tourism Council (JHTC) meeting to discuss marketing tactics and ways to further increase arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands. 
“Hawaii would not be what it is today without our Japanese guests,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “And we have a long history together, in which we have a great appreciation of each other’s culture and history. Through the JHTC, we continue to enhance the experiences and opportunities for this market in order to continue to grow and strengthen our friendship.”
Following the meeting, the HTA and JATA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to launch the Hawaii Two Million Visitors Initiative starting Jan. 1, 2013. The initiative targets two million Japanese visitors to Hawaii in 2016 through initiatives discussed during the JHTC meeting. Strategies include stimulating shoulder season travel, attracting first-timers and MICE visitors to Hawaii, and increasing visitor distribution to benefit all islands through the establishment of a second point of entry and pre-clearance access. 
This two million visitor target translates to an estimated $4 billion in annual visitor spending and $440 million in state tax revenue.
One of the priorities of the HTA strategic plan is to find a balance that will benefit the community and visitors, while preserving and perpetuating the place and culture of the Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaii Two Million Visitors Initiative will stimulate Japanese visitor arrivals and spending that will positively affect economic growth, job creation and new experiences for both residents and visitors to enjoy.
“While many Japanese have traveled to Hawaii before, there is still a greater majority who have yet to visit the Hawaiian Islands,” said Tatsuo Hayashida, board director of the JATA. “The Hawaii Two Million Visitors Initiative offers an opportunity not only to capture a new market but also create first-time experiences for repeat travelers outside of Waikiki.”
More information on JATA can be found here. For details on the MOU click here.

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