The Sony Open Tourism Swing

Mufi Hannemann
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January 11, 2012 | Hawaiian Airlines Discount Share

The annual Sony Open in Hawaii tees off Jan. 9 for a week’s worth of great golf competition. Featuring 144 of the world’s top professionals, the Sony Open is an eagerly anticipated event on Hawaii’s sports calendar and one of the most prestigious sporting events in the islands.

The Sony Open is also an example of sports tourism at its finest.

The tournament is a showcase of golf in Hawaii. While the Sony Open is held at Waialae Country Club on Oahu, it reinforces the state’s reputation for outstanding golf courses, from Princeville on Kaua’i to Kapalua on Maui to Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island. Golf is a very popular activity for both visitors and residents, and is a key attraction for our travel industry.

It no doubt draws many visitors, who come to watch the professionals in action and enjoy some golf of their own while they’re here.

The televised Sony Open brings warm, beautiful Hawaii into the dens and living rooms of 450 million homes in roughly 200 countries, including China, according to the tournament organizers. The value of this media exposure is estimated at $100 million in marketing and related economic benefits that help the visitor industry and our general economy.

The tournament has other direct benefits for us. In cooperation with Friends of Hawaii Charities, which is a nonprofit organization headed by business and community leaders, Sony Open in Hawaii generates millions of dollars that underwrite programs and services for women, children and youth, and the needy. The Friends join with Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the well-known local philanthropic organization, in this partnership.

Sony Open proceeds total more than $1 million a year, which then goes to more than 100 nonprofit groups. Since 1999, the event and the groups have collaborated to raise more than $11 million for 350 local charities.

An event of this scale takes the involvement of many. I recall when, as mayor, that the City and County of Honolulu was called upon to assist with providing more public parking. We accomplished this feat by enlisting the kokua of park-users to forgo their designated park dates and used those areas for parking. Friends of Hawaii Charities then made a donation to improve one of these heavily utilized public facilities.

We’ll be enjoying the Sony Open on television or in person. We should also recognize that the tournament also requires an army of local volunteers, the support of government and business, and the cooperation of neighbors and so many others. These contributions, however, are handsomely rewarded in the money raised for our local charities, the media exposure we enjoy, and the impact on our tourism economy.

Troy Boyce

Position: Bellman
Location: Ohana Waikiki Malia Hotel

Bellman Troy Boyce can be called upon to do just about anything at Ohana Waikiki Malia Hotel.

As a bellman extraordinaire, Troy provides the highest standards of guest service. He greets everyone, paying special attention to small children who’ve journeyed far distances to Hawaii. He pampers and sings to them while they wait for their parents to check in. Even in difficult times, Troy maintains a smile on his face and positive outlook in his heart as he steps in to work at the front desk, answer phone calls, assist with housekeeping, man the desk solo and assist in every way possible.

Troy Boyce is a motivator among his coworkers, encouraging them to stay healthy and fit or giving free surfing lessons. He even helps neighbors clean their yards, demonstrating his unconditional aloha for all people.


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