State visitor approval ratings improve
More visitors rate their Hawaii vacation as 'Excellent'
Visitor approval ratings for Hawaii improved in the third quarter of 2006, helping to pull satisfaction levels for the first nine months of 2006 back up to near their 2005 levels, the state Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism said yesterday.
The ratings represent an improvement in visitor-satisfaction levels from an earlier report issued by the department's tourism research branch in December.
Although visitors were highly satisfied with their experience in Hawaii in the first half of 2006, approval ratings for that period declined from the year before -- apparently the result of weather-related problems that plagued the state early that year.
Heavy rains began in mid-February of 2006, then the Ka Loko Reservoir burst on Kauai on March 14, killing seven people, followed by the Waikiki sewage spill.
"The year-to-date figures were much more positive than were expected, given the low ratings in the first quarter of 2006," said state economist Pearl Imada Iboshi. "Due to the remarkable gains in the third quarter of 2006, the cumulative ratings for the first three quarters were on par with 2005 levels."
The quarterly report is part of a move by the state to increase the frequency of its reporting on visitor data so that officials can respond more quickly, said state Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert. In the past, the survey came out biannually, she said.
In the third quarter of 2006, 70.1 percent of U.S. visitors said that they would rate their most recent vacation as excellent, compared with 66.8 percent who responded that way during the same period of 2005.
Responses by visitors from Japan, Canada and Europe declined slightly in this category.
Also, 40 percent of U.S. visitors said that their trip to Hawaii exceeded expectations during the third quarter of 2006, compared with 36.5 percent who had that opinion in the same period of 2005.
More visitors from Canada saw their expectations met as well. However, such responses from the visitors from Japan and Europe dropped.