Ticket tie-up hurting visitor attractions

Ticket tie-up hurting visitor attractions

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In the first quarter of the year, the USS Arizona Memorial saw a five percent drop in visitors. Blame the decrease on a dip in tourism and a web site visitors use to book reservations.

"If you were to go onto recreation.gov, you would not be able to get a ticket for many months out," said Paul DePrey, superintendent of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

Hawaii News Now tried to get a ticket for Friday. But the web site said tickets were sold out. In reality, there were 100 tickets available at the customer counter. A lot of tickets are available every day.

"Over half of the tickets for the Arizona Memorial sit at the visitor's center because they don't know that," said Ken DeHoff, executive director of the Pacific Aviation Museum.

The museum gets an overflow from people who visit the Arizona Memorial. Museum attendance is down twenty percent, and revenue has fallen. That's hurt funding for the Museum's educational programs and restoration projects.

"Our C47 is a real special airplane, and we're having to cut back on the time and the materials we're putting into that," DeHoff said.

Discover Hawaii Tours is also affected.

"There are times we've actually gone to the web site to purchase tickets ourselves, and we're not able to get any either," general manager George Cadinha said.

The web site was designed and is run by the Federal government. The site only accounts for about half of the 4,500 tickets the Arizona Memorial makes available daily. But the web site doesn't say that.

Discover Hawaii thinks a simple solution would be for the web site to post a notice.

"The way would be for the web site to have a message that pops up and says that although these tickets are sold out online, we have 2,500 other tickets that are available on a first-come first-served basis at Pearl Harbor," Jackie Cadinha said.

The site is also being used more, and bookings are locked up months in advance.

"So as a consequence, if you want to make a reservation just a few weeks out, those tickets are not available. Now we know that we do need to take a look at how effective it is for all users," DePrey said.

The web site's designers will be in Hawaii in June.