HVCB seeks subcontract
bids for N. America,
business travel

The Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, stripped of the duty of promoting the state to international travelers, is putting out a call for competitive bids for marketing subcontracts that cover North America and the market for business travel.

The bureau is issuing three requests for proposals for advertising services, broadcast media buying services and public relations services. The requested amounts of the contracts, and other details, were not released.

Honolulu firm McNeil Wilson Communications Inc. has been the bureau's North America public relations consultant since 1992. Milici Valenti Ng Pack Advertising is the bureau's North America advertising agency, and won a $6 million-a-year contract in 1999, replacing Ogilvy & Mather Hawaii. Travel Related Marketing has provided broadcast media buying services for the bureau.

State auditor Marion Higa recently criticized the bureau for entering contracts with McNeil Wilson and Milici Valenti in 2002, totaling $854,000, for services to be done in 2003. The bureau also accrued $1 million to Travel Related Marketing in 2001 for services that occurred in 2002. A critical state audit said the bureau committed funds for future services to exhaust its state contract funds each year.

The bid documents will be posted Friday at The deadline for proposals is Sept. 26.

The HVCB has been Hawaii's primary marketing agency for a century, but in July it lost the state contract to market the islands to international markets. The bureau kept a smaller contract covering business travel and North America, which is by far Hawaii's largest source of tourists.

The bureau's new contract, which it is negotiating with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, takes effect in January. The bureau's current contracts, covering leisure and business travel, are worth $35.5 million this year.

The bureau has a priority to award subcontracts to Hawaii companies, since it must seek HTA approval to give contracts to outside companies.


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