SOURCE: Travel Hawaii LLC

Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

December 30, 2009 13:22 ET

How to Understand Barack Obama: Visit Hawaii

The "Obama Effect" Continues to Boost Hawaii's Image

HONOLULU, HI--(Marketwire - December 30, 2009) - As Michelle Obama famously opined, "You can't really understand Barack until you understand Hawaii." And the best way to understand Hawaii, according to Travel Hawaii, a leading Internet Hawaii booking site, is to visit Hawaii and absorb the culture from which Obama sprang.

"I read a study once," said John Lindelow, owner of Travel-Hawaii.com, "where the researchers went to various states and they would stop at a red light, and then when the light turned green, they would not move and would measure the number of seconds until someone honked. In Hawaii, sometimes the light would cycle all the way through and nobody would honk." It's not that Hawaii is just totally "laid back," said Lindelow. Rather, it's the Spirit of Aloha -- that ineffable mix of kindness, mutual regard, and affection, even for complete strangers -- that makes Hawaii unique.

There's no doubt that the Obama's periodic vacations in Hawaii have had a positive effect on Hawaii's tourism industry. It's not easy to measure, of course, but there's no doubt that Hawaii has gotten a significant boost in the branding department, particularly important in the current recession. So people will tend to subconsciously favor Hawaii because of its association with the first family.

What's in store for Hawaii in 2010? The recession continues to keep the number of tourists visiting Hawaii lower than in previous years. But there remains strong interest in visiting Hawaii -- so much so that 6.5 million tourists visited Hawaii in 2009, in the midst of the recession. Hawaii hotel deals continue, not just at Waikiki hotels, but at hotels throughout the Hawaiian islands.

"In 2010," said Lindelow, "third night free deals at Hawaii hotels will continue to be the norm." Travel Hawaii's extensive hotel database shows 41 Hawaii hotels offering third night free deals in 2010 so far. Many other types of Hawaii hotel specials are also in the offerings, including free breakfasts, resort credits, and grocery certificates.

About Travel Hawaii LLC

Founded in 1997, Travel Hawaii is a leading Internet booking service for consumers wishing to vacation in Hawaii. Travel Hawaii maintains sophisticated online booking systems and databases focused on Hawaii travel.

For more information, visit: http://Travel-Hawaii.com.

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