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Revitalization of Japanese tourism to Hawaii slower than expected

kitv.com -- Aug 04
The highly anticipated return of Japanese travelers to Hawaii was expected to dramatically increase with foreign border restrictions loosening back in June 2022.

But with the summer months coming to a close, Hawaii has seen far fewer Japanese tourists than once projected just months ago.

"We were expecting an influx, increased numbers. And the numbers are increasing but we had several things happen," explained Hawaii Tourism Japan Managing Director, Eric Takahata.

Local Japanese travel correspondents equate the delay to the country still in mourning over the shocking assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as the sudden onset of it's seventh coronavirus wave.

"For us to reach pre-pandemic numbers again it's going to be later in the year," Takahata added. "Again, because of all these setbacks that no one really has control over."

According to numbers released by the the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the state welcomed back just under 12,000 Japanese tourists in the month of June. Those travelers spending about $24.3 million. That's compared to just three years ago, June 2019, when Hawaii saw more than 126,000 visitors spending upwards of about $182 million.

It's the reason many local hotels, restaurants, and attractions continue to market push for the Japanese market in anticipation that those numbers begin to rise within the coming weeks and months. ...continue reading

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