Hawaii Tourism Industry Looks For More Visitors

Louise Meeks
Louise Meeks
Rex Johnson
Rex Johnson
Peter Greenberg
Peter Greenberg

By Joann Shin

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Tourism is Hawaii's number one industry.

And people in the industry want to make sure the visitors and their business keep coming.

One travel expert says the industry needs to do more to get people to keep coming back.

Louise Meeks is just one of millions who visit our islands.

"It's like a holiday, there's lots of activities and things to do here," Meeks told us.

It's this feeling that makes hawaii a top travel destination.

The tourism industry wants to keep it that way.

Hundreds in the business met Tuesday at the Hawaii Convention Center.

"Making sure everyone is up to speed on where industry headed and new things going on," said Rex Johnson of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Johnson says the industry is strong now, but there are some challenges.

"The Japan market is down a little bit this year," he said.

Down by about 9 percent because of several factors.

"We've had full hotel rooms, a lack of air seats from Japan," Johnson explained.

But the number of west coast visitors is up almost 6 percent.

"We'll come up with 7.5 million visitors if we don't economic social crisis" said Johnson.

But Peter Greenberg, NBC's Today Show travel editor, says Hawaii can't get too comfortable.

"It looks like it great now, your hotel are full right now, you're all celebrating, said Greenberg." "But if you don't compete on experience, who cares on price," said Greenberg.

He says the industry needs to do more to provide a more authentic experience.

"It's not the luau, it's chocolate covered macadamia, nuts, it's lei greeting it's the maid the bell men, take show community, take me to chinatown at 6 o'clock in the morning, to the zoo," said Greenberg.

Local travel experts say, that the visitors who come here to Hawaii are the action-seeking type.

They pack their days with activities from jet skiing, surfing, to parasailing.

That's why the industry is trying to spend much of their attention marketing these types of activities.