To Our Readers

By John Flanagan

Saturday, March 15, 1997


A high-tech paradise?

WATCHING Microsoft, Cisco Systems and other high-tech stocks ride the roller coaster on the NASDAQ stock exchange makes me wonder whether trying to attract that kind of business to Hawaii is such a great idea.

Then I remember what adding or dropping one daily flight from Japan means to us.

As Ross Perot says, "Do the math." 350 seats times 365 days equals 127,750 fewer tourists a year. If they stayed 5 days and spent $341 a day (actual averages), our island economy would lose $210 million a year, plus whatever multiplier applies. That's just one plane.

Clearly, diversification of Hawaii's economy is crucial. Otherwise, whether we enjoy prosperity or tighten our belts will continue to depend on the yen/dollar exchange rate, competition from other vacation meccas and video tapes of hooligans snatching purses.

Toward that end, the Oahu Economic Development Board, with support from GTE Hawaiian Tel, put together an eight-minute video called "Hawaii: Your High-Tech Paradise," which they presented Thursday evening at the Tenney Theatre, next to Washington Place.

This fast-paced blur of images and information makes a convincing case for technology entrepreneurs' setting up shop here.

Global digital communications allow many businesses to locate anyplace they please. Hawaii should attract more than its share. The only barriers are those we build ourselves.



John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 525-8612, fax to 523-8509, send
e-mail to publisher@starbulletin.com or write to
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.





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