As Hawaii prepares for an influx of visitors attending next month’s annual Honolulu Festival - a festival that will bring in nearly 5,000 Japanese visitors - discouraging news is announced from Hawaii Tourism Japan (HTJ). Citing market conditions and budgetary concerns, HTJ will close its Honolulu office while still operating an office in Tokyo.
Takashi Ichikura, HTJ’s executive director, is on record as saying, “We have decided to downsize our Hawaii office, and are currently reviewing our operations. Therefore, we unfortunately will not have any representation in Honolulu as of the end of this month, and until further notice.”
The Japanese market is Hawaii’s second largest market after the U.S. Japanese arrivals in Hawaii were down 10.5 percent in 2008. The Hawaii Tourism Authority, a state agency funded by hotel guest tax revenues, is contracted with J Compass, which does business as Hawaii Tourism Japan, for marketing management services in the Japan major market area.