16 Jan 2008

Japanese tourist numbers to Hawaii drops

10:24 am on 16 January 2008

A 3.5 percent drop in Hawaii's Japanese tourist market in 2007 has prompted officials to revamp its promotional campaign.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority's, David Uchiyama, says that drop translates to a loss of 17,000 tourists.

The Japanese are among Hawaii's highest-spending tourists, and on average a Japanese tourist spends over US$200 a day.

He says there are a variety of reasons for the drop, including a reduction of flights from Japan to Hawaii and many Japanese tourists who want to experience something new.

Mr Uchiyama says a campaign is now underway to try to make the Hawaii experience more appealing.

"Visitors that have come to the islands are very familiar with sights, like the Arizona Memorial, Bishop Museum, the volcanoes, all of our beaches. But what they're not familiar with is some of the things that are more intimate to the culture and community. It could be just what we call kanikapila, like a little jam session, that visitors could attend something like that and be a part of it."

David Uchiyama.