WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - For vacationers there's more to enjoy than just the sand and seashore at Waikiki Beach. So the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau will encourage tourists in 2011 to get out and explore Hawaii.
"I really don't know anything about the other islands," Oregon visitor Steve Dikeman said.
Statements like that are driving HVCB to educate potential visitors on the mainland West coast where research shows a level of consumer confusion.
"For example, the Big Island tends to confuse people. They automatically think, 'Well, if it's the Big Island, it must be where Honolulu is,'" HVCB president and CEO John Monahan said.
He laid out the bureau's 2011 game plan to hundreds of HVCB members Thursday.
One element will be targeting hot spots in LA, Seattle and San Francisco with advertising that features all the islands.
"We're doing billboards and streaming video in elevators," he said. "The hardest question you have to answer is when someone says, 'I'm coming to Hawaii for the first time for a week. Where should I go?' You stumble and you think, 'What do you like?'"
Susie and Ivors Ackers are on their honeymoon but they'll spend all their time on Oahu.
"This time we're spending a bit of time in the city. Next time we'll visit some more of the islands," Ivors Ackers said.
As for projections on visitor totals for next year, the Hawaii Tourism Authority thinks it can top seven million if we can lock up enough seats on incoming airplanes.
"In our peak years we had about ten million seats into the state. We're slightly under that," HTA's David Uchiyama said.
Tourism experts believe the economy has made travelers frugal. But as things get better travel plans should expand.
Asked if they're going to the neighbor islands while they're here, Sabrina Dikeman said no.
"We're just going to stay on Oahu," she said.
Those in charge of marketing Hawaii to the mainland hope to hear that answer less and less next year.