Maui Business

Hawaii Tourism Authority Selects Japan Marketing Contractor

September 27, 2011, 9:24 AM HST
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Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson

By Sonia Isotov

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), the state’s tourism agency, today announced the selection of a.link LLC as its marketing contractor for Japan.

As HTA’s Japan marketing contractor, a.link LLC will be responsible for developing and implementing an integrated marketing plan in Japan targeting both leisure and business travelers. A.link replaces JCompass, who was the founding management company of HTA’s Hawaii Tourism Japan office.

According to the HTA, a.link LLC was formed solely to facilitate the needs of the state concerning Japan-Hawaii tourism. The core members of the team, which include President/Project Manager Eric Takahata, president/project manager; Mitsue Varley, vice president of marketing and public relations; and Toshiyuki Saegusa, vice president of sales. Together the team at a.link represents more than 60 years of experience in various sectors of Japan-Hawaii Tourism.

“Japan is a mature market with a long relationship with Hawaii and in order to continue to grow and strengthen that relationship, we must develop new strategies and tactics to meet the changing needs of the visitor from Japan,” said Mike McCartney, HTA president and CEO, in a statement today. “To accomplish this, one of the goals of the RFP process was to develop a more integrated strategy which would strengthen our alliances with our industry partners, both in Japan and Hawaii.”

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“a.link LLC has a solid level of knowledge of Hawaii as a destination, extensive experience in the visitor industry, both here and in Japan, and strong relationships with numerous industry segments such as entertainment, sports, airlines and meetings and conventions. This, along with their understanding and appreciation of our community and culture, will create a stronger, more integrated approach to our marketing programs, and greatly assist in HTA’s efforts to leverage state tourism assets.”

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“The world has changed and other destinations are becoming more aggressive. To better compete in the global marketplace, Hawaii must be more creative in our sales and marketing efforts. We are confident that a.link LLC has the right combination of expertise, knowledge, creativity and strategic approach,” said McCartney.

“We want to thank JCompass for all that they have done over the years to support our marketing efforts in Japan. During their tenure, they helped reposition Hawai‘i and were very successful at maintaining our market share, especially during some very difficult economic times,” said McCartney. “JCompass created a solid foundation that will help ensure our continued success in the Japan market.”

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