Hawaii is giving away 6 dream vacations to woo NYC workaholics

Updated: May. 1, 2018 at 4:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii tourism officials are offering a sweet deal to six New York City workaholics: Come to Hawaii for an all-expenses-paid, week-long vacation to "work from home" — island style.

The new program is state-funded, though officials could not immediately say how much it's costing.

Hawaii Tourism United States, which is contracted by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said money for the program comes out of its $4 million annual budget from the authority for attracting visitors from the New York market.

Officials also noted that the program has received several in-kind contributions from companies to help offset costs.

Jay Talwar, chief marketing officer for Hawaii Tourism United States, said New York tourism to the islands is under-performing — so Hawaii needed a way to make a big splash and appeal to New Yorkers who might not know all the state has to offer.

"We're pitching Hawaii as a place where you can come back better," he said. "We're focusing on developing itineraries that will really knock their socks off. It's really a tool that will allow us to get through the high level of noise in the marketplace of New York."

He added that simply placing a series of ads in the New York market would have been too costly, and wouldn't have made much of an impact.

The eight-day "residency program," though, has already made a splash nationally with headlines like:

  • Hawaii is giving away free trips to "stressed out" New Yorkers (Business Insider)
  • Hawaii to pay New York millennials to spend a week in paradise (Yahoo Finance)
  • Work from the beach? Hawaii is handing out free trips to New Yorkers (Mental Floss)

The six vacations are for locations across the state and are slated for September. Residencies are open to New York City professionals who live and work in the city's five boroughs.

Each participant gets a round-trip flight from New York to Hawaii, access to a workspace, accommodations, the opportunity to "participate in three curated activities," and money for meals and local transportation.

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