Isles losing allure
for Japan newlyweds

It’s the first time since 1970
Hawaii hasn’t led the U.S.,
a Japanese survey finds

From staff and wire reports

For the first time in nearly three decades, the mainland United States has become the top choice among Japan's honeymooners instead of Hawaii, a travel agency survey said today.

The Japan Travel Bureau Inc., Japan's biggest travel agency, said more than one fourth of 2,500 newlyweds who bought package tours from them during March and May chose the mainland United States.

Many visited or plan to visit Las Vegas and Los Angeles for theme parks such as Disneyland, JTB said.

It was the first time in the annual JTB survey since 1970 that the mainland United States was the top destination, the survey said.

Hawaii, the top choice until last year, was ranked second followed by Australia, it said.

Barbara Okamoto, director of market research at the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, said the survey's findings aren't alarming. While the mainland markets showed quicker growth during the survey period, the Hawaii's Japanese newlywed market continues to grow at a steady pace.

Last year, 327,830 newlyweds from the eastbound market visited Hawaii, up 29.1 percent from 1995's 253,930, the HVCB said. The eastbound newlywed market is dominated by Japanese honeymooners.

JTB said some 95 percent of Japanese couples go on overseas honeymoon trips and spend an average $4,730.

Governor OKs tourism cash,
plans Japan trip

Associated Press

Gov. Ben Cayetano and Hawaii's four mayors are packing for a four-city trip to Japan next month to try to woo more tourists to the islands.

The trip and a $10 million emergency appropriation Caye-tano released yesterday is part of a plan over the next five months to boost tourism promotion in Japan and the mainland.

The governor and the mayors will travel to Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka during the week of April 14.

Cayetano said he is glad the state Legislature approved his request for the extra advertising dollars because it comes at a time when Hawaii's heavily depended-on tourism market is lagging.

"This $10 million funding is essential to help stimulate Hawaii's economy by attracting more tourists," Cayetano said. "Last year tourists spent $11 billion, generating approximately 25 percent of our tax revenues."

But now recent figures show that visitor arrivals from Japan are falling behind last year's pace and the number of visitors from the mainland remains well below peak levels, according to the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

"Hawaii's visitor industry is off to a shaky start in 1997," said HVCB President Paul Casey.

Lawmakers approved the funding despite the state facing a $257 million tax revenue shortfall.

"I hope the bureau spends it wisely," said Senate President Norman Mizuguchi.

The HVCB is coordinating the new advertising for television commercials and print ads.

Casey said $6 million is earmarked for Japan, and $4 million to enhance mainland advertising.

Mainland commercials are already being broadcasted, while Japan commercials should begin in a couple of weeks, Casey said. The bulk of the commercials and ads will begin running in April and May, he added.

Advertising in the mainland will appear in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego, Casey said.

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