Date: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 2:52pm HST - Last Modified: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 3:00pm HST
Approximately 4,400 Asian studies scholars and academics from 65 countries will be in Honolulu during the next four days for the Association for Asian Studies and International Convention of Asia Scholars first-ever joint conference at the Hawaii Convention Center.
Conference organizers say the number of attendees already pre-registered for this event — 4,400 — has exceeded expectations.
There is no denying that Hawaii is already starting to feel the pinch from fewer visitors traveling to the Islands, especially from Japan in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
So, conference organizers and SMG Hawaii, which manages the Hawaii Convention Center, are banking on the goodwill that these 4,400 attendees will spread while they’re here. Hotels, which already have seen bookings slide and room reservations canceled, are surely grateful for the business.
And the trickle effect, even if just for the next four days, could soften any other impact to come in the slower travel months of April and May.
The conference is expected to generate more than $20 million in revenue, and hotel partners will reap the benefits of more than 35,000 room nights.
The association last held its annual meeting in Honolulu 15 years ago, but because of how much it has grown since then it’s being held at the Hawaii Convention Center for the first time.
“The level of interest and number of panel session proposals we received this year were far beyond expectations,” said Michael Paschal, executive director of the Association for Asian Studies, in a prepared statement. “Much of it was due to the jointly organized structure of the conference, but also no doubt to the draw of the location, as many participants will bring their families and stay beyond the days of the conference.”
Read more: Honolulu hosting Asian studies conference | Pacific Business News