The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the state agency for tourism, has announced that the online maritime vessel scheduling system went live last week.
The system, created in partnership with the State Department of Transportation (DOT) Harbors Division and State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, integrates the two state departments' ports schedules into a single online system, which will also provide greater ease in helping cruise ships to come to or tour the Hawaiian Islands.
"The launch of this new online system is really in line with what we are trying to achieve for Hawaii's visitor industry in creating greater ease of access to the state," said George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO, in a written release. "We believe this single system will provide cruise lines with greater opportunity to come to the Hawaiian Islands. While still a smaller market for the state, cruise lines provide visitors with a unique way to experience the Hawaiian Islands."
During the first seven months of 2015, there were 134,254 visitors who either arrived by ship or by air to board a cruise ship, which is a decline of 8.6 percent compared to the same period last year. In 2014, there were a total of 125 total ships that came to and toured within the Hawaiian Islands, carrying 243,390 passengers.
"While cruise arrivals have been declining, we believe that this system should be able to alleviate some of the challenges the cruise lines have faced in coming to the Hawaiian Islands," added Szigeti.
PortCall.com developed the software to support vessel scheduling and analytical reporting, which users can access from multiple organizations and sites across Hawaii.
Training sessions on how to use the new online system were conducted the week prior to the system going live for DOT, DLNR, shipping agents, pilots and other users.