Businesses pumped for 'Pro Bowl bump' after record year in tourism

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Jan 24 2013 07:59:00 PM HST

Blockbuster events with international appeal are generating big returns for Hawaii.

HONOLULU -

"I can't back up the truck enough on the Raiders. I wish I had more 42s and 44s! I mean this is Raider country," said Quicksilver manager George Kam. To say he was stoked the Pro Bowl is in Hawaii was a bit of an understatement.

"It’s the best! I mean the Pro Bowl is the best thing that happened to Hawaii," he gushed.

The company's pro-team board shorts, with free Pro Bowl tickets, were selling like hotcakes.

"It was like locusts! People were coming from all over, calling from all over the place, they look for it online, and they look forward to it," he said of the themed board shorts.

With the biggest parties centering in Waikiki, business is hopping everywhere.

"I've been at the Shorebird Beach Broiler where the bar fills up, Duke's fills up, and our restaurant at well," said Wolfgang's Steakhouse General Manager Bill Nickerson.

The Pro Bowl trophy has been displayed here at Wolfgang's Steakhouse for the last three out of four Pro Bowls.

The restaurant is expecting a lot of foot traffic, including some 80,000 fans expected to be in the area for a Pro Bowl block party on Saturday.

"It's warmly known as the 'Pro Bowl Bump,'" said Hawaii Tourism Authority President Mike McCartney.

Pro Bowl Game Day 2012

He said more international marketing for the Pro Bowl jives with their overall strategy.

2012 was a record-breaking year for Hawaii's tourism industry, with the biggest revenue bump coming from Asia.

"We learned from APEC that America needs to pivot to Asia, and Hawaii's perfectly positioned for that, so we'd like to partner with the NFL to bring more fans from Japan, China and Australia," he said.

"I think it's been great for the NFL. It's definitely been great for us," said Kam.

In 2012, tourists spent a record $14.3 billion in Hawaii.

That's because there were more tourists than ever -- nearly 8 million people.

The HTA reported those visitors spent a combined $39 million per day.

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