Japan quake threatens to undermine Hawaii's economic recovery

The Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows in Mauna Lani, Hawaii.

HOST: To Hawaii now, where the Japanese disasters could have a huge impact on the economy. The Japanese do a lot of vacationing in our 50th state. But the crisis is expected to change that.

Marketplace's Janet Babin reports.


Janet Babin: Last year, more than a million Japanese tourists visited the Hawaiian Islands, injecting $2 billion into local economies. But David Uchiyama with the Hawaiian Tourism Office says not this year.

David Uchiyama: We see about a 25 to 30 percent drop off in March, April, May and June.

Uchiyama expects Japanese tourists will return to Hawaii by summer. Japan is Hawaii's third largest tourism market. The first is North America. And the fear is that U.S. tourists might change their plans over concerns about Japan's traveling radiation plume. The U.S. government is adding more radiation monitors, but does not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the islands.

Tim Jarrell is publisher of Fodor's Travel.

Tim Jarrell: In the short run, it's hard to say, but people are affected by perception.

That said?

Jarrell: I would go to Hawaii tomorrow.

And really, who wouldn't?

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...