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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, July 25, 2003

Visitor arrivals down 6.7 percent in June

By Sean Hao
Advertiser Staff Writer

Total visitor arrivals in Hawai'i fell 6.7 percent last month as the number of Japanese tourists continued to decline.

Overall, 551,287 visitors came in June, down from 590,575 in June 2002, according to figures released yesterday by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

However, visitors stayed longer last month— an average of 10.08 days, compared with 9.25 days in the year-ago period.

The June figures maintain a trend of slightly rising numbers of visitors from the Mainland and sharply declining numbers of international tourists.

Of particular concern to Hawai'i's tourism industry is the nearly 31 percent drop in Japanese arrivals for the month.

The numbers appear to confirm that in view of global crises and other developments, the Islands appear safer as a destination among some Americans, but that foreign tourists remain wary of traveling.

"We are encouraged by the steady growth in the number of domestic visitors to the state over the first half of the year...," said Ted Liu, state director of business, economic development and tourism.

"Now that travel warnings for the SARS illness have been lifted throughout most of Asia, we hope we will see an increase in international arrivals toward the end of the year."

Despite such optimism, the June figures showed slight slippage in the state's $10 billion tourism industry.

For the year through June, total visitor arrivals in the state — 3,060,120 — were down 1.5 percent from the first half of 2002, a period when the travel industry was hurt by heightened fears of terrorism in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

On O'ahu,, visitor arrivals fell 13.3 percent compared with June 2002. Big Island arrivals fell 10.1 percent. Kaua'i and Lana'i suffered losses of 1.7 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively.

Visitor arrivals on two islands increased: 0.2 percent on Maui and 3.9 percent on Moloka'i.

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