Hawaii. You still love us!

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The Wall Street Journal says Hawaii is dodging a tourism slowdown that has affected other Mainland vacation destinations—at least so far.

According to the Journal, Hawaii visitor totals are up 2.8 percent for the first quarter of 2008, when compared to 2007 figures. Hawaii hotel occupancy rose 1.5 percent in the same period, while the rest of the U.S experienced an overall 4.6 percent drop.

Oddly, Hawaii’s positive overall tourism numbers arrived in the midst of a drop-off in visitors from two of our largest markets: East Coast visitors are down 1.4 percent, and Japanese visitors down 5.7 percent.

Why the good first quarter 2008 numbers then? Visitors from other areas of the world have stepped up travel here—encouraged, perhaps, by a weak U.S. dollar which has suddenly made Hawaii a bargain for them.

It should be noted that these numbers were collected prior to Aloha Airlines and ATA Airlines shutting down last month. The closures are expected to result in a loss of more than 1.1 million Hawaii-bound airline seats annually.

Still, the Journal story addresses a very interesting phenomenon.

Click here for the article.

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