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Why we should care about

Economic Diversification & Resiliency

Highest Share of Employment Travel & Tourism-Related Industries

#1 Hawaii

(21% Hawaii vs. 10.4% National Average)

Highest Travel & Tourism Consumer Spending per Capita

#1 Hawaii

(Tied at #1)

Highest Share of Travel & Tourism

Industry Generated GDP

#2 Hawaii

Highest Share of Business Travel & Tourism-Related Industries

#2 Hawaii

Tourism, accounting for about 25% of all jobs in Hawaii, is also the lowest-paying industry in the country.

 

When COVID-19 temporarily shut down our businesses and all tourism, Hawaii’s unemployment numbers went from the lowest to the highest in the country – averaging close to 25%, with Kahului's rate hitting 35% in April 2020... almost 10% higher than the national unemployment rate at the peak of the Great Depression.

If we can diversify our economy so that we're not so heavily reliant on one single industry (i.e. tourism), we can minimize the impact any one situation can have on our economy and also start to address the growing income inequality.

Most Common Jobs held by Residents of Hawaii

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Hawaii Unemployment Rate

2011 - 2021

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... so the question is, how do we leverage tourism and everyone's love of Hawaii to grow and create new industries for our islands?

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Blueprint

Due to our geographic location & new work dynamics created by the pandemic, Hawaii is positioned well to grow in many industries, including:

  • Technology

  • Film & TV

  • Alternative Energy

  • Commerce / CPG

... we need to continue to grow:

  • Construction 

  • Health Care

We could help catalyze growth in these industries and ensure job creation through tax credits specifically tied to payroll, similar to the R&D Tax Credit. We need to also refine processes that prevent construction businesses from quickly and efficiently building -- specifically, building affordable housing.

And of course, we need to make sure we have the professionals to lead and staff these industries & new opportunities locally through proper training & professional development programs: 

  • Trade Schools

  • Workforce Development programs

Relevant Experience

Start-up Advisor

  • Worked with various start-up businesses on creating & implementing Go-to-Market (GTM) strategies

Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), Volunteer

  • Worked with HTDC on various marketing initiatives to support locally owned small businesses

"Hawaii Made" SB263

  • Worked with Senator Wakai to create a "Hawaii Made" program that supports all types of Hawaii-owned small businesses

Let's Talk Story

I'd love to hear your ideas and thoughts on this topic.

Please email me at valerie@valeriecwang.com.

Together, we can make a difference.