Hawaii to use Olympic surfing to attract tourists

Updated: Nov. 15, 2016 at 4:38 AM HST
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HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii is trying to bring in more tourists by taking advantage of surfing's elevation to Olympic sport status.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that surfing will be an official sport in the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority usually spends most of its $9.1 million sports budget on land-based events, but Vice President for Marketing and Product Development Leslie Dance says HTA will start to focus on surfing and water sports as the games approach.

HTA's marketing contractor, Hawaii Tourism Japan, will ask Japan's Olympic Committee to allow them to highlight surfing in the opening ceremony. HTJ Managing Director Eric Takahata says it would be an honor to bring surfers from all teams together.

He also wants the U.S. team to spread the message that surfing began in Hawaii.

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