22 Mar 2011

Hawaii expects Japan tourist arrivals in March to drop 20%

2:22 pm on 22 March 2011

The Hawaii Tourism Authority says it's expecting a 20 percent decrease in visitor arrivals from Japan in March following the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The authority says it's experienced a range of cancellations since the disaster and is expecting that to continue for about the next three months.

Its brand vice-president David Uchiyama says tourism operators have expressed concerns about the dropoff, as Japan accounts for about 17 percent of the state's visitors.

But he says there have also been fresh bookings from Japan

"Of course there's concern, we saw mostly groups cancel in the initial phase. The leisure market or package tours, we haven't seen as much cancellations and to be honest with you, in some of the cancellations we have received, we also have received bookings. There has been interest in longstay packages."

David Uchiyama says Hawaii's major north American market is still doing well, and numbers from Oceania, South Korea and China are increasing.