Loss of Japanese Tourists Will Impact Hawaii

In the wake of last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Hawaii’s Governor Neil Abercrombie stated recently that the loss from the expected downfall in tourism from Japan will be tens of millions of dollars. Japanese tourists are the third largest group of arrivals to Hawaii, just after the U.S. West Coast and U.S. East Coast, respectively.

It may take years for Japan to get back to normal, and this includes outbound tourism, said Juergen Thomas Steinmetz, president of the Hawaii Tourism Association (HiTA). “The situation in Japan is tragic...Economically, for Hawaii we urge HTA and the Governor to immediately shift marketing dollars to give an instant incentive for destinations in the European Union, Singapore, and India to look at Hawaii as a travel alternative. Under the current circumstances, many Europeans are hesitating to travel to Asia including Vietnam, China, Thailand and Malaysia. Hawaii and the US in general, especially as a visa free zone, could be a welcomed alternative for Europeans, but action must be taken swiftly.”

Steinmetz went on to say that HTA should concentrate on communicating at a global level that Hawaii is not under any risk from radiation being emitted from Japan.