Less Tourism From Japan Reaching Hawaii

(KHNL) - After a positive first few days, with arrivals from Japan, things aren't looking as good for this year's golden week.

There are fewer Japanese visitors than last year and that hurts Hawaii businesses hoping for a little more help.

You see them packed onto trollies, buses or on the sidewalks of Waikiki,

thousands of Japanese visitors here for golden week.

"There's been an increase in visitors this week." says one Waikiki Store Manager

"Golden week is very important" adds another.

Some come to hawaii for the sun and surf, others are here to shop.

"Japanese shops are very expensive there, here it is the same but cheap." says Japanese Visitor, Yoshitake Saito.

But not all the Japanese feel Hawaii is such a good deal.

So far, less than twenty four thousand visitors from Japan are here this week. Over two thousand less than last year.

The thousands here could still provide a boost to business but many say golden week is losing its luster.

"Before, they buy more a lot but now they think about it, and it takes time." says retail employee, Reina Dounagphouxay.

Some stores unveil specials, to take advantage of those who do spend during golden week, and they hope the sales will be enough.

Meanwhile, experts can't point to a specific reason why there has been a drop in visitors from Japan.

Additional fees for flights could hurt Hawaii trips and tourism dollars could also be going up in smoke.

"Japanese people like to smoke and now cannot smoke, so that's the reason not so many people here." adds Dounagphouxay.

Others may just be traveling to destinations closer to Japan. In fact, Japanese visitor numbers are down across the pacific, except in Asia.

Unfortunately, this downward trend for visitors isn't just for golden week.

The last time, Japanese visitor numbers were up was back in the first few months of 2005.