Shark attacks worry tourists but unlikely to impact tourism

Shark attacks worry tourists but unlikely to impact tourism
Kyle Nakamoto, Red Sea Ocean Adventures President
Kyle Nakamoto, Red Sea Ocean Adventures President

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When it comes to sharks often people are either fascinated or frightened. The five shark attacks in the past three weeks and nine this year in Hawaii may push people to the latter. So do the shark attacks take a bite out tourism?

"It is kind of scary to think about," said Seilavena Williams, from Seattle.

"We were going to go snorkeling but I think I'm double thinking it now. I'm second guessing it," said Dave Boehme, from Seattle.

The family from Seattle was going to go on a snorkeling tour but instead plan to go to Hanauma Bay and stick closer to shore.

"I worry a lot so I was already kind of thinking that kind of stuff when I came here," said Williams.

But the point there is people may have fears but it doesn't scare them out of cancelling their flight.

"Maybe they'll decide to hang out by the pool instead of going on a snorkel trip or something like that but I think the attention span or at least the tension span on it will be relatively short," said Gary Warner, Orange County Register Travel Editor, who writes about five stories on Hawaii a year. He doesn't see the shark attacks affecting tourism.

"People are feeling really bullish over here. The recession is over they really want to go to Hawaii," said Warner. "I think you're going to see a real upswing in west coast tourism."

"Sharks do get a bad rap often," said Kyle Nakamoto, Red Sea Ocean Adventures President and Hawaii Skin Diver Television Executive Producer.

Nakamoto surfs and dives throughout the year. He's also shot plenty of video diving with sharks. What does he make of the recent attacks?

"I think for awhile it does keep people out of the water just because of the fear of sharks," said Nakamoto. "Guys who surf, people who dive they are still going to go out there."

Tour companies also told us people often book so far in advance and visitors don't always watch local news so shark attacks don't really factor in.

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