Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H ‘Aloha’, Michael Murray Hawai’i’s location makes it the perfect place to host MICE business, according to Hawai’i Visitors and Convention Bureau’s vice president of MICE sales and marketing Michael Murray. “On the business standpoint, we’re really at the epicentre of two-thirds of the world’s buying market being North America and the Pacific-rimmed countries,” Mr Murray told media at IT&CM China. Strategically located between East and West, Mr Murray pointed to Hawai’i’s “time-zone advantages”, which enabled it to conduct business with major cities throughout the world all on the one day. Identifying emerging MICE markets for Hawai’i, Mr Murray highlighted South Korea, which had grown by “leaps and bounds”, and an Australian market which was at present “very strong”. Despite having no direct flights from China to Hawai’i, the American island state experienced a whopping 70 per cent growth last year in visitor numbers from China, and was expecting double-digit growth again this year.Talking to the downturn in business from the state’s second largest market, Japan, Mr Murray said the decline had been “less than we anticipated”, adding there was already a gradual projection of it “inching back up” leading into the summer months.