Study Shows Tourism Will Slow Down Economy

Roxanne Cobb-Adams
Roxanne Cobb-Adams

HONOLULU (KHNL)- A new study shows Hawaii's sluggish visitor industry will slow overall growth of the state's economy this year.

But some folks who make their living catering to tourists aren't worried just yet.

"Hawaii seems to be the steady, 70-80 degree weather. Everywhere else there's blizzards," said Roxanne Cobb-Adams of Star Beach Boys.

Tourism growth in Hawaii stalled last year, thanks in part to soft consumer demand, according to the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.

Economists predict only marginal growth in the visitor industry over the next couple of years. For 2007, they project visitor arrivals will grow by less than one percent.

UH economists said new developments in Waikiki and other parts of the state could help the visitor industry in a few years. They estimate 5,000 new units will be added statewide by 2010, the largest increase in visitor accommodations since the 1980s.

"It doesn't really matter where the projects are, people will always find their way into waikiki or a different side of the island to see and discover," Cobb-Adams said.

Some in the visitor industry said they remain optimistic many tourists will still think of Hawaii as a tropical paradise.

"There's no rain how we had last year, the 40 day rain," Cobb-Adams said. "So it's been pretty good. We still have the same flow of people that we have usually."