Forget US Tourists: Hawaii Lures Euros

State escapes slowdown by casting net wider for visitors
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2008 9:08 AM CDT
Hotel occupancy is up 1.5% in Hawaii year-on-year, contrasting with a 4.6% drop nationwide in the US.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Domestic tourism is slowing down in the US as economic worries mount, but Hawaii appears to be surfing a wave of diversification through the downturn, the Wall Street Journal reports. Numbers of visitors from Canada, Europe, and some East Asian countries are picking up and offsetting a drop in tourists from Japan and the eastern US.

The island state decided to cast its net wider for visitors after the '90s downturn in Japan hit its tourism industry hard. Hawaii started marketing itself in new areas and added flights to new destinations. A new visa-free agreement with South Korea started last month. "When you are an island, you do not want to be overly dependent on one tourism market," noted Hawaii's governor.