Barack Obama and Fighting Irish help economy - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Barack Obama and Fighting Irish help economy

John Monahan John Monahan

By Roger Mari - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Despite the downturn in visitor arrivals, there is a silver lining for the local tourism industry. That's thanks to a couple of high profile events expected to bring in tourist dollars this holiday season.

The arrival of Barack Obama helped lure some people to Kailua businesses and restaurants. On the same day the Notre Dame Football team came in for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl bringing with them thousands of fans from all over the globe.

Notre Dame boasts arguably the most storied football program in the nation. Next month, Barack Obama will officially be the man leading our nation. Both are in the islands drawing much need media attention to Hawaii.

"It's natural the coverage is here because they're here and they're big news items," said CEO John Monahan of the Hawaii.

Hawaii Bowl officials say, more than 45-thousand tickets have been sold. With Christmas just two days away the money being poured into Hawaii's slumping economy couldn't have come at a better time.

"Not only is it broadcast nationally at a great time of year, its rebroadcast back in Japan as well," said Michael Story of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

People are spending less all across the country, but nothing kept Steve Bizjack from heading to Hawaii to see the Fighting Irish. Seeing Barack Obama would just be a bonus.

"We have a little money stashed away for things like this so it like a late honeymoon by about 27 years," said Visitor Steve Bizjack.

It's an advertising dream for Hawaii.

"What you'll see is the president-elect as well as the Notre Dame team out there doing the things vacationers do when they come to Hawaii."

They're two big names visiting the islands, helping to bring in big bucks before the end of the year.

While Barack Obama has no scheduled public events, the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl can be seen by anyone with a ticket or a TV. Kick of is at 3pm, Christmas Eve.

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