Big Island Visitors Bureau Presents Check to Hawai’i Island United Way

Media Release:

Representatives from the Big Island Visitors Bureau presented a check for $2,320 to the Hawai’i Island United Way this afternoon. The gift was a result of a follow-up promotion to meeting planners who attended PRIME2011 earlier this year at the Hawai’i Convention Center on O’ahu.

Big Island Visitors Bureau and Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods Present Hawai'i Island United Way With Donation

PRIME2011, held June 8-11, was attended by more than 100 qualified planners representing North America, Australia, China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Europe. PRIME’s goal is to provide an opportunity for hospitality industry suppliers to conduct business and develop new business with these meeting planners, and to share all that makes Hawai’i the perfect meeting destination. Held on Hawai’i Island for the past three years, PRIME moved to O’ahu this year, leaving Hawai’i Island with a challenge to gain exposure in other ways.

This prompted the team at BIVB to come up with a post-conference follow-up strategy to reach out to the participants of this year’s event.

“Our goal was to create an outreach program that would leave a lasting impression, forever connecting these planners to Hawai’i, while promoting some of our island’s messaging,” said George Applegate, Executive Director of BIVB. “We worked closely with the County of Hawai’i and The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative creating a program to plant a koa tree on the island in each meeting planner’s name. The gift was unique and shared a message of culture and sustainability. Each planner received a certificate with GPS coordinates for their tree, a letter from the Mayor, and a notecard and sales DVD from the Big Island Visitors Bureau,” he said.

“Response from the meeting planners has been very positive,” said Debbie Hogan, Senior Director of Sales for BIVB. “It definitely made a lasting impression and, as we hoped, forever connected them to our island home. It also created a ‘chain reaction.’ One planner is considering purchasing a tree for each of their conference attendees when they get to the island. Another is looking at how they can create a similar program in their area.”

It’s not the first time a group has given back to the local community.

“The CMI market impacts Hawai’i Island beyond the travel industry,” said Applegate. “Earlier this year, a convention staying on the Kohala Coast contributed thousands of dollars worth of new computer equipment and software to schools on our island.”

As a result of working with The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative at Kuka’iau Ranch, a donation check was provided to the charity of BIVB’s choice, which was the Hawai’i Island United Way, an organization that supports Hawai’i Island charities. Nearly all money (98 percent) raised on Hawai’i Island stays on Hawai’i Island, benefiting specific programs that have excellent track records of service and positively influence the lives of the community, from keiki (child) to kupuna (elder).

One Response

  1. Thanks for posting this Damon! Hawaii Island United Way is about to kick off their campaign for 2011/2012! Come get fired up Mon., Aug. 29 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Hilo’s ILWU Hall, 100 W. Lanikaula St. in Hilo…OR on Tues., Aug. 30 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kona! Great prizes, food, and fundraising packets. RSVP to Ayrine,, or donate at! 98 % of every dollar raised stays on Hawaii Island!

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