December 20, 2008

Hawaii facing major tourism decline

A Hawaiian official says a drastic decline in tourists has the island state's tourism industry facing its worst year in several years.

State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert said the number of 2008 visitors to Hawaii has dropped 10.2 percent through November, meaning this year is on track to overtake a 9.3 percent annual drop in 2001, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported Saturday.

We had estimated that we'd be off by 10 percent for the year, but right now it looks like it's going to be a little more, she said. This is our deepest 11-month decrease. We've got some challenges ahead.

The Star-Bulletin said the worst drops in Hawaiian tourism occurred during the Great Depression when the island state saw a 15.9 and 15.4 in 1930 and 1931, respectively, along with a devastating drop of 34.3 percent in 1932.