University of Hawai'i
(808) 956-8856 Telephone
For Immediate Release:
March 15, 2001
Professor David Duffy, PCSU UH Manoa, Tel. (808) 956-6934
|UH Unit Hosts Kauai & Hilo Conferences to Spur Island Economies|
The Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit of the University of Hawaii Manoa will be hosting two conferences in 2001 in Kauai and Hilo, expected to generate at least $3.0 Million.
The first conference, the Pacific Seabird Group, was held at the Radisson Kauai Beach Resort in Lihue in February, and had 200 attendees. The conference, co-sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, explored the biology and conservation of seabirds, with a special emphasis on Japan and Hawaii.
The second conference, the annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology will be held in late July in Hilo and will be jointly sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey. The conference, which will be held at the UH Hilo campus, will explore the sustainability of island ecosystems. The conference will offer extensive after-conference tours both on the island and to Midway.
Professor David Duffy, head of the PCSU, commented, "Annual meetings of scientific societies represent a niche market that could be greatly expanded if the tourism industry worked more closely with the UH academic community. Scientists extend their stays after meetings for family vacations. Such meetings often spur island-based research projects that help the local economy and can generate extensive publicity. The Galapagos Islands never had to pay for their publicity; it came for free as Prince Phillip and David Attenborough reported on Galapagos research and conservation projects. Hawaii is twenty years behind."
Even smaller societies are worth pursuing, as they can be accommodated on the Neighbor Islands, while bigger meetings are limited to Waikiki. Many societies value the closer link to nature and Hawaiian culture that is possible on the outer islands. "The economic stimulus of a 200-person conference on Kauai is probably much greater than would be a 1,000 person meeting on Oahu," says Duffy.
The Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit is a joint project of the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Park Service and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Last year it brought in over $6 million in research funds and generated over 160 jobs, mostly in rural areas on the Big Island and Maui.