Survey: Islands rate high among Western visitors

HONOLULU -- A survey of Hawaii's visitors from around the world shows the majority gave the islands an "excellent" rating as a vacation destination, but travelers from Japan weren't as impressed as their U.S. counterparts.

Released in December, the 2002 Visitor Satisfaction and Activity Report prepared by the state's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, shows 69.3% of respondents from the U.S. gave their Hawaii vacation an "excellent" rating.

Kauai and Maui were two favorite islands mentioned by U.S. travelers.

The survey found 67.4% of Europeans and 60% of Canadians also gave their Hawaii vacations "excellent" ratings, while only 49% of Japanese visitors rated their vacations "excellent."

When it came to planning and booking their Hawaii vacations, Japanese travelers tended to book closer in than other travelers.

The survey found more than 80% of Japanese visitors made airline, lodging, car reservations and tour package purchases less than three months prior to their trip.

By comparison, travelers from the U.S., Canada and Europe took seven months or more to plan and book their trips.

Travelers from the U.S., Canada and Europe also tended to use the Internet more as a trip-planning tool compared with visitors from Japan.

Visitors from Japan spent more than other travelers while in Hawaii. Japanese visitors on average spent $233 per day, per person compared with travelers from other parts of Asia ($165), Europe ($145), U.S. West Coast ($142), Latin America ($123) and Canada ($115).

Overall, some 6.4 million of Hawaii's visitors arrived by air and cruise ship in 2002, up 1.6% from 2001, when arrivals softened in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The number of cruise ship passengers visiting Hawaii was 63,776, up 36.9% from 2001.

The average length of stay for all visitors was 9.38 days, up 2.3% from 2001.

Total expenditures by air and cruise passengers was $10 billion, up 8.7%. Of that, air passengers spent $9.95 billion. The average air visitor spent $159 to $166 a day per person compared with the $86 to $99 per day, per person spent by cruise passengers.

What people do

op visitor activities in Hawaii:

Sightseeing. More than 80% of visitors from the U.S. preferred guided tours on all the islands, while those from Canada (80.3%) and Europe (74.5%) opted for self-guided excursions. Japanese visitors (60%) also liked self-guided tours, but mainly on Oahu.

Sand, sun and sea. Nearly all visitors engaged in such activities as swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling and scuba diving along with running, jogging and other fitness activities while in Hawaii.

Shopping. Sunshine and beaches weren't enough to lure visitors from shopping. Visitors from the U.S. and Europe favored supermarkets and convenience and hotel stores, while Canadians gravitated toward department stores, and Japanese visitors favored duty-free shops.

Entertainment. Everything from lunch and dinner cruises to nights out on the town were popular with half of all Hawaii's visitors.

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