KAHALA, Hawaii (KHON2) — The Sony Open in Hawaii is more than just a golf tournament. it puts a spotlight on Hawaii for people across the country and around the world, giving the islands an economic boost.

Kalani Kaanaana, Hawaii Tourism Authority Chief Brand Officer, said “we really think of Sony as a great example, in partnership with the Friends of Hawaii charities, and the Hawaii Community Foundation and all the other partners and sponsors in 2022, you know, 1.2 million was donated in charitable donations.”

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“We saw an economic impact of about $30 million to the state from those attending the Sony; and so, we really believe it’s a great event and really highlights the best parts about Hawaii,” added Kaanaana.

Hundreds of people attend to watch the pros play. The Sony Open is Hawaii’s longest PGA event and takes place at the Waialae Country Club.

How it’s covered catches the attention of future visitors. Senator Glenn Wakai said “you look at the temperatures across the US right now. Lots of people are showing Link snow.”

“And, when they turn on the TV and see why like Country Club just awash in green and beautiful backdrops, I think that will compel us, some people to go and say, you know, Honey, let’s go make a trip to Hawaii. I’d rather be there than shoveling snow that I’m doing right now,” Wakai added.

That also means a boost for local businesses and a chance for them to share some unique island flavor with visitors.

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Macy Khounkeo, Olay’s Thai-Lao Cuisine owner, said “It’s been great. We haven’t been here for the past two or three years that we missed out on. And, there’s been a lot more foot traffic than before. So, it’s been good; can’t complain!”