June visitor arrivals
fall 1.4 percent

The World Cup kept many
Japanese travelers home

By Tim Ruel

Visitor arrivals were off slightly in June, as West Coast visitors continue to pour into the islands and Japanese tourists stayed home for the World Cup soccer tournament.

As a result, arrivals for the first half of 2002 total 3.1 million, down 8.8 percent from 3.4 million in the first half of 2001, according to the monthly survey from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Hawaii had 590,575 tourists last month, down 1.4 percent from 599,194 in June 2001, and off 4.8 percent from June 2000's 620,014 visitors.

Visits from the U.S. West market jumped 7.4 percent to 251,181 tourists, making up more than 40 percent of the overall visitor market in June.

At the same time, East Coast visits dropped 3.3 percent to 153,490 from 158,673.

Japanese visitors were down 15.6 percent to 121,693 from 144,094. For the first half of the year, Japanese visits are down 20 percent.

The numbers had been improving before June, but Japanese outbound travel slumped in connection with the final matches of the World Cup, DBEDT said.

For the first five months of the year, total visitor spending was down 5.5 percent to $4.11 billion from $4.35 billion, a loss of $240 million.

U.S. West visitors are Hawaii's thriftiest, and have become even more so this year, spending an average of $141.30 a day, compared with $276.70 by the Japanese.

Total spending by the Japanese has been holding steady in Hawaii, despite a drop in visitors, because of the relative strength of the yen against the weakening U.S. dollar.

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