ON A ROLL

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Dan Beeman, 34, is the new director of marketing promotions for the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, after three years in sponsorship marketing for San Francisco's Pier 39. Travel to Hawaii is rebounding after a slowdown, up nearly 8% in the first quarter of the year over 1998.

Mission: Showing people why Hawaii is different. Examples: sponsoring triathlons in 10 U.S. cities with the finals in Maui; a chefs tour of North America; beefed-up Internet campaigns.

Opinion: Only events and promotions can give people sensory tastes of Hawaii through food and flowers. It's more persuasive than advertising.

Fact: Hawaii's marketing budget is dwarfed by the cruise industry and many states' budgets, yet its [westbound] return visitor rate is 64%, among the world's highest.

Surprise: Despite competition from all directions, Hawaii remains the No. 1 honeymoon destination in the U.S.

Perception: Hawaii is remote and expensive.

Reality: A budget-conscious Hawaii exists, just a non-stop flight away.

Challenge: Converting the doubters. In surveys, nearly 30% of Americans list Hawaii as their top dream destination, yet only 5% have visited.

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