Asian credit-card company JCB starts Hawaii tourism promotion
The campaign is expected to increase visitor spending in Hawaii by $45 million
JCB International, Asia's largest credit card company with more than 56 million customers, announced plans yesterday to start an incentive marketing campaign expected to bring more Japanese tourists to Hawaii and encourage them to spend more once they arrive.
The campaign, called the JCB Discover Aloha Hawaii Project, is expected to increase spending of JCB customers in Hawaii by $45 million in the next 12 months, said Osamu Daigo, executive vice president of the Marketing Planning Department at JCB International Credit Card Co. Ltd. in Tokyo. Japanese visitors spent about $2.1 billion in Hawaii last year.
"We are confident that this project will contribute to the economy of Hawaii by attracting more tourists to visit the Islands and encouraging them to enjoy shopping more while they are here," Daigo said.
As part of the promotion, which begins April 1 and will run through March 31 of next year, JCB will use its marketing expertise and a wide range of customer channels to sell Hawaii as an attractive destination, he said.
JCB's network includes 13 million merchants and spans 190 countries and territories, Daigo said. The company's Discover Aloha Hawaii Project partners in Hawaii and Japan include: Hawaii Tourism Japan, ABC Stores, Ala Moana Center, DFS Galleria, the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Victoria Ward Center, Japan Airlines, Fuji Film, DoCoMo World, Counter Hawaii, Amino Value, P&G, Travelex, the Waikiki Trolley, Whalers Village, Bank of Hawaii and First Hawaiian Bank.
Japan tourists who use their JCB card to fund a trip to Hawaii will be eligible for several incentives including a chance to win a free return trip to Hawaii, use of a local dining and shopping coupon book and free rides on select Waikiki trolley routes.
Hawaii's Japan visitor market, which makes up nearly 21 percent of total arrivals, could benefit greatly from the program, said Rex Johnson, chief executive officer and president of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
"This is a big-time card with a lot of influence," Johnson said.
The campaign is worth an estimated $100 million in marketing dollars to Hawaii, said Kiyoko Tanji, general manger of Hawaii Tourism Japan.
JCB has successfully run similar programs in Okinawa and Hokkaido, Japan, Tanji said. The company chose Hawaii because it is "the top destination among Japan visitors," she said.
Last year, 1.52 million visitors came to Hawaii from Japan.
While Hawaii's investment in the project has been minimal, if the project takes, the state could see a jump in spending from its top-spending market, Johnson said.
"Our numbers dropped a little last year because of the availability of hotels and air seats, but the demand is still there," he said.
JCB has pledged to make a donation to an environmental protection organization each year of the campaign, Tanji said. The Hawaii Nature Conservancy will be the company's first beneficiary.