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Was the Hawaii Tsunami Warning A Blessing For The Hawaii Tourism Authority?

It was an unprecedented coverage of the Hawaiian Islands during the Tsunami warning of February 27, 2010.  More people tuned into their TV, mobile and social media accounts to focus on Hawaii than ever in the history of modern-day Hawaii.  It was a sunny morning and there was light winds, empty beaches and more boats on the horizon than the eye could see.  A Perfect day for the HTA  right?

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has bore the brunt of the tourism heat for not getting the right kind of spin out to the world about Hawaii as a travel destination.  To boot, they just coughed up $650k to cultural Hawaiian development only after being called out on not being supportive of the movement.  And now, as if 3 is a charm, a tsunami warning that may have put a bit of a shy spin on people coming out here because “it could happen”.

What the world saw was a great response by the people of Hawaii to move it on up the hill.  Tsunami Pa’inas broke out along road side look-outs to see what would happen.  Nobody panicked and everything went off without a hitch – except 9 civil sirens.  The keywords on Twitter (#Hawaii#Waikiki) saw the highest use in the history of Twitter during the tsunami event so that must have had a good branding impact, right?

From my point of view, it was a great global response by people all over the world on all types of media sending well wishes as we awaited and sighs of relief when the tsunami missed us.  there are hundreds of millions of people who have visited Hawaii and left with some of the most memorable times of their lives.  Yes, as I’m so happy that the tsunami passed us, I’m even more elated to see that world knows what Aloha is.  Hawaii dodged a bullet but the HTA got the big save.  But I hope they open their eyes to see that the equity of Aloha is far greater than trying to create it.

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