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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 3:20 p.m., Thursday, December 28, 2006

Visitor satisfaction fell slightly in first half of 2006

Advertiser Staff

U.S. and Japanese visitors were slightly less satisfied with their overall experiences in Hawai'i in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, according to a state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism report released today.

The 2006 Visitor Satisfaction 1st Half-Year Monitoring Report said 63.6 percent of U.S. visitors rated their most recent Hawai'i trip as "excellent," down from 66.8 percent in the first half of 2005.

Only 50.8 percent of Japanese travelers — who typically are less inclined to give top ratings — said their most recent trip was excellent. That compares to 52.4 percent in the first half of last year.

Still, more U.S. visitors — 65.2 percent compared to 63.1 percent last year — said they would "very likely" visit Hawai'i within the next five years. The number of Japanese visitors who said they would very likely return in the next five years fell one percentage point to 48.6 percent.

"The results confirm that the visitor industry provided excellent services and a variety of quality activities which allowed visitors to have a positive experience even with the unprecedented circumstances of rain and flooding in the first half of 2006," said state tourism liaison Marsha Wienert. "The high satisfaction ratings also show that visitors recognize Hawai'i is a special place with a unique culture. The people of Hawai'i should feel proud that our aloha spirit and island hospitality are noticed and appreciated by visitors."

A total of 1,432 U.S. visitors and 1,511 Japanese visitors responded to the mailed surveys. The margin of error in the polls of U.S. and Japanese visitors was 2.59 percentage points and 2.52 percentage points, respectively.

The 2006 Visitor Satisfaction 1st Half-Year Monitoring Report can be viewed at: www.hawaii.gov/dbedt/info/visitor-stats/vsat