Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui Tuesday to spearhead the state’s Sports Development Initiative, which aims to coordinate efforts throughout Hawaii to build a thriving sports industry.
"This initiative will help to expand sports entertainment and participation opportunities in Hawaii, while also strengthening our visitor economy -- particularly during the shoulder seasons when visitor arrivals are less robust," Gov. Abercrombie said. "With Shan at the helm, we hope to take advantage of each island’s unique characteristics and bring athletic events that fit into their individual environments."
While collaborating with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, University of Hawaii System, Stadium Authority, and private sports organizations, the initiative will identify, promote and engage opportunities to establish Hawaii as a premier sports destination for professional, amateur and youth athletics. The improvement of current facilities and development of world-class, state-of-the-art venues are also part of the initiative, intended to attract sporting events and athletic training opportunities not only on Oahu but throughout the state.
In addition to positive media exposure and awareness, professional sporting events have contributed well over $100 million to the state’s economy each year, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
"With this Sports Development Initiative, we have the opportunity to diversify our visitor industry and generate more revenue for our state," Lt. Gov. Tsutsui said. "Everyone can benefit from this initiative -- from keiki to kupuna. They will be able to either participate in or attend a variety of sporting events."
Through this initiative, community involvement and outreach will expand with more mentoring, camps and clinics to develop young athletes using unique concepts, utilizing teams, players and participants. It will also encourage active lifestyles and improve the health of keiki and adults.