Oahu’s visitor industry faces challenges
The island's visitors account for nearly half of the tourist dollars brought into the state.
OAHU appears to be holding its own
in the visitor market as arrivals remain steady statewide, albeit not as robust as the industry would like.
Though in the late 1990s, Hawaii's signature tourism destination had seen its market share dwindling, refreshing iconic Waikiki and the addition of resorts on the western end of the island have kept Oahu as the primary revenue generator for the industry.
How the island can sustain its draw as visitor interest continues to shift from a largely urban area to greener neighbor island locales is the question, especially among repeat visitors looking for new experiences.
The Oahu Visitor's Bureau, marking the 10th anniversary of its founding, was keen to point out that the island accounted for nearly half of all the tourist dollars brought into the state. Officials attribute the healthy numbers to renovations in Waikiki, a district that had grown scruffy and had failed to increase revenues despite discounting.
Renovations inside and outside Waikiki continue -- examples being the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Kahala Hotel and Resort. Waikiki retail, such as the Royal Hawaiian shopping center, also is undergoing refurbishing; new stores, such as Target, and growing retail hubs, like the Ward area, could entice vacationers to increase spending.
Meanwhile, expansion of tourism in West Oahu offers another option to Waikiki. Earlier this month, Walt Disney Co. announced plans for an 800-unit resort at Ko Olina, its first hotel outside its theme parks. These newer facilities could support the island's visitor counts, but competition from other islands and a global tourism trade will constantly be a challenge.
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