Kauai companies join Tokyo trip

HONOLULU — Seventy-three companies represented Hawaii at the 2017 Tokyo International Gift Show.

Kauai companies there included Aunty Lilikoi, Kauai Kookies and Salty Wahine.

This year marks the sixth consecutive year that the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism organized a Hawaii Pavilion at TIGS, which was held Sept. 6-8, at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center.

This year, the Hawaii pavilion filled 32 booths, and featured a café section. Last year’s gift show resulted in $11 million in export sales by Hawaii’s participating vendors. This year’s exhibitors are expected to top $13 million in export sales.

“The Tokyo International Gift Show is huge and it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase small and medium-sized businesses from Hawaii to the rest of the world,” said DBEDT Director Luis Salaveria. “Each exhibitor walks away with new exposure to the international market and a global perspective on how to do business outside of Hawaii.”

“The Hawaii Pavilion grows each year in size and number of local companies exhibiting,” said Dennis Ling, administrator for DBEDT’s Business Development and Support Division. “The Hawaii brand is established and recognized for quality and authenticity, which is reflected in the dramatic increase in our sales in the Japan market.”

As a result of dollar amount of exports achieved at TIGS, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced last week an award of $400,000 to continue the Hawaii State Trade Export Program.

Under the tag “Buy Hawaii, Give Aloha,” this program provides training, grants and tradeshows for companies looking to start exporting or increase their exports.

Angie Higa, owner of Sky Dreams LLC explained: “The Tokyo International Gift Fair is an important show that I look forward to each year. As a designer and having the opportunity to expand my collection to Japan, where they love Hawaii and Hawaii-made products, is absolutely amazing.”

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