HVCB gets $399,500 grant
to school China on tourism

Hawaii businesses are going to China to teach the hosts of the 2008 Beijing Olympics the business that this state knows best -- tourism -- thanks to a $399,500 federal grant awarded yesterday.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism was one of seven organizations to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Market Development Cooperator Program.

The grant will pay for programs to help Hawaii businesses gain entry into China's tourism market, officials said.

What they will bring to Beijing is their knowledge of tourism, said Steve Bretschneider, chief marketing officer for the department. "This is not to bring tourists here from China, but to send services we have here to companies and organizations in China, particularly focused on the Beijing Olympics," he said.

The grant means that the state will partner with the federal government to help China develop tourism-related services in time for the 2008 Summer Games.

Over the next three years, the state and the private sector will match the federal grant, Bretschneider said.

"The money turns into $1.2 million ... to market the service assets we have here in Hawaii," he said.

A group of 12 different companies and organizations, including the University of Hawaii, are part of an integrated development group that will help China market itself to the world, he said.

"They would be our architectural firms, our (information technology) companies, our university, in terms of training people," Bretschneider said.

"Beijing is building lots of hotels, and they're very interested in Hawaii as far as best practices," he said. "How to create that aloha spirit in those hotels there."


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