WAIKIKI (KHNL) - The state and the visitor industry are taking special measures to accommodate tourists from Japan. They want to make sure everyone knows about the new Transportation Security Administration rules, even if they don't speak English to tell us how the state and private sector is working together to help.
On any given day, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, 20,452 Japanese tourists enjoy Hawaii's weather and activities. And the state wants to make sure they leave only positive memories.
It starts the moment they get off the plane. JTB tour guides tell their clients about the news, and the tighter TSA restrictions. The state also has Japanese speaking staffers at the departure terminals briefing Japanese visitors about the new TSA restrictions as well.
At the hotels, more of the same. Staffers brief their Japanese customers. Hilton Hawaiian Village's Bert Momotomi explains, "We've been going around talking to the tourists arriving to let them know what happened."
The customer he was just talking to is Yasunori Matsumoto. Momotomi says, "He was a little nervous because it's been a long time since they've traveled overseas so it did affect them a little."
Most appreciate the heads up. Tourist -and Hilton guest -Kato Shigeki says, "I heard you can't bring liquids on board so I realize things like contact lens solution can't be brought home."
The hotel is making sure to inform all guests. Momotomi says, "We're putting a letter in the guest rooms in English and Japanese to let them know about the heightened security and what they might find at the airport."
The hotel is thinking ahead, also, by ordering cases of supplies- toothbrush kits and shaving kits, in case travelers had to throw theirs away before they got on the plane.
It definitely takes extra effort. "It does put a little strain on us but the most important thing is that our customers are informed."