Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Friday, April 18, 2003



Tourism ads to start running in Japan

The state is initiating a tourism marketing campaign in Japan in the aftermath of the war in Iraq, and is planning to spend $2 million on advertising and promotion there starting May 6.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority and Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau ceased advertising the state when the war started last month. The new campaign will include four waves of ads placed in major Japanese newspapers, travel agent seminars to be held in eight cities and cooperative television ads.

As of yesterday, Japanese visitor arrivals to Hawaii in April were down 28 percent compared with last year, which was a bad year because of the terrorist attacks.

Local tourism officials this week began running television ads on the U.S. West Coast, in Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix and San Francisco, costing $265,000 in state funds. Next week, ads will begin on the East Coast, in Houston, Dallas, Chicago and New York, costing $175,000.

The funds come from $3.4 million saved when the bureau canceled advertising and shifted programs.

Union leader denies shove

Local 5 leader Eric Gill has denied he shoved the union's president, Orlando Soriano, and is contesting a temporary restraining order Soriano obtained against Gill earlier this month.

A hearing was held on the restraining order yesterday morning in state District Court, and a further hearing will be held. The order remains in effect, and Gill cannot come into contact with Soriano, even though the two must work in the same offices at 1050 Queen St.

Ala Moana Hotel staff OKs deal

Union workers at the 1,152-room Ala Moana Hotel in Waikiki have ratified a four-year contract, retroactive to 2002, that has similar terms as union contracts recently reached with other major area hotels.

Of the 420 union employees at the hotel, 202 voted in favor of the contract, while 24 voted against it. The ratification vote took place April 9.

The 11,000-member Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees Local 5 is seeking contract settlements with the Imperial Hawaii Resort time-share in Waikiki, and the Turtle Bay Resort on the Oahu North Shore. The union recently reached a settlement with Royal Kona Resort on the Big Island that has not yet been ratified.

Hawaii retailers talk strategy

Leading island retailers will talk Tuesday about how they and others are coping with the sluggish economy, dropping visitor counts, fears created by the war in Iraq and now SARS.

Sales & Marketing Executives of Honolulu will stage the panel discussion at a $40-a-head luncheon at the Hawaii Prince Hotel. The moderator will be John Geppert, director of Tiffany & Co. and chairman of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii. The scheduled speakers are Joyce Okano Reed, regional vice president of Chanel; Mark Hollander, president and CEO of Crazy Shirts; and Robert Taylor, president and CEO of Maui Divers.

The association said the session is aimed at showing how Hawaii retailers are changing their marketing techniques in the face of the current adversity.

Program details are available on the Web site Registration can be done online or by calling 537-1158.

China growth triggers overheating fears

BEIJING >> China's awesome 9.9 percent economic growth in the first quarter sparked debate in state media today about whether the economy is overheating and if the government should do anything about it.

The first-quarter growth was well above the government target of 7 percent for the year and puts China on pace to beat last year's 8 percent growth.

Some economists said power shortages, skyrocketing property investment and rising prices pointed to unsustainable growth. Others insisted the economy was healthy but faced uncertainties such as a sluggish global environment and the deadly SARS virus.

China has maintained an expansionary fiscal policy since 1998, issuing tens of billions of dollars in special bonds to fund infrastructure projects.

Daiei operating profit rises 7.9 percent

KOBE, Japan >> Daiei Inc., Japan's most indebted retailer, reported that second-half operating profit rose 7.9 percent from the same period a year earlier. The supermarket chain's operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold and administrative expenses, was $169 million for the six months ended Feb. 28.


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