Thursday, September 27, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

Japanese still
eyeing Hawaii

Despite the attacks, a survey
says many travelers intend to
proceed with their vacation plans

By Russ Lynch

A new survey of Japanese travelers shows that nearly half of those who had planned trips to Hawaii over the next few months still intend to make the trips they booked. Another 7 percent said they will travel to Hawaii, but later than they intended.

Those numbers in the immediate wake of the Sept. 11 disaster are "encouraging," said Japan market specialist Dave Erdman, chief executive of Honolulu-based PacRim Marketing Group Inc., which is monitoring the ongoing survey on Japanese Web site that links some 25,000 Japanese who have an interest in travel to Hawaii.

What makes the survey more interesting than some, Erdman said, is that many Japanese responding to the survey questions took the time to add personal comments about their Hawaii travel choices.

Among the 23 percent who said their Hawaii trips had been canceled, many said they would not be able to relax and enjoy the trip.

A common thread was fear of flying after the hijacks.

Many of those who postponed their trips said they didn't think it was appropriate to vacation in Hawaii in a time of mourning.

Among those who are sticking to their plans, many voiced loyalty and support for Hawaii's travel industry in the present crisis.

The survey of those with plans to travel any time between now and the end of February showed 24 percent who had made bookings are now undecided on whether to cancel or go.

People with Japanese-language computer capabilities can see the survey results and the comments on the Web site that is running the survey, Here are PacRim's translations of some of the comments:

>> "Hawaii depends on tourism. I don't have a choice but to go and encourage Hawaii because it always encourages me."

>> "Hawaii's revenues rely on tourism. If we don't go, the lives of those who live there will not recover."

>> I'm going without hesitation because it is a vacation that I've been looking forward to and if tourism declines many people will lose their jobs."

From those whose plans have been canceled:

>> "Even though Hawaii's streets are safer, it's still America and I don't want to spend my vacation keeping my eye on the news."

>> "I couldn't go on a vacation when I love America so much and at a time when so many innocent people were sacrificed in this miserable incident."

And from one who postponed for a month:

>> "To go to Hawaii during this time seems inappropriate but it was something that was planned from before and I don't think that being in Japan is any safer."

The results reported by Erdman were those posted by Tuesday morning this week, when 367 Japanese had responded. Responses are still being sent in and the Japanese Web site will be updated.

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