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The Obama Presidency

What it could mean for Hawaii

(page 3 of 4)


Surf, Sand and... Obama?

How can Hawaii profit from Barack Obama’s upbringing on Oahu? By touting his old haunts. At press time, two Web sites (the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau’s and by Robert F. Kay of public relations firm Pac-Tech Communications) promote the Hawaii Obama knew. Kay contributed to a Wall Street Journal article by Punahou graduate Sarah Lind shortly after the election and, inspired by the research, decided to put up the Web site, which serves as half biography, half tour guide.


Think an Obama tour can’t compete with the likes of the Nuuanu Pali Lookout or Waimea Bay? Think again. In Obama’s current hometown Chicago, which boasts landmarks such as the Sears Tower and Wrigley Field, there’s been a marked increase in interest from visitors and international journalists since election day, according to Karen Ryan, manager of communications for Chicago’s Office of Tourism. Volunteer tour-group leaders give free Obama walking tours; the James Hotel offers a special City of Hope package (with complimentary copies of Obama’s “Audacity of Hope”); and restaurants post signs proclaiming, “Obama Dined Here.”


Places like Hope, Ark. (birthplace of Bill Clinton) and Crawford, Texas, (home of George W. Bush) saw surges in visitor numbers because of their famous residents, though the numbers weren’t sustainable. So don’t be surprised to see an “Obama Likes Plate Lunch” sign outside of Rainbow Drive-In — at least for the time being. — JU


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Hawaii Business,January