Business reap economic rewards of RIMPAC visit

By Zahid Arab - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL)--  The influx of hundreds of RIMPAC participants is giving a much needed boost to Honolulu businesses, retailers call "RIMPAC impact" a "real relief".

With navy ships docking from ten different countries, it may be all about improving skill out on the ocean blue, but for businesses it means a boost to get in the black.

Angie Butler's Taco Del Mar is rocking and rolling. Burritos are being made by the hundreds, business is booming up 10% this week.

"Our business has really increased in sales since the ships came have come in harbor. "It really helps because all of the food costs have gone up and the shipping costs have gone up to our island," said Taco Del Mar Owner Angie Butler.

RIMPAC is expected to bring in about $43 million dollars to the local economy. A group of sight-seeing RIMPAC sailors on a trip to the zoo say they've spent about $700 dollars each while on shore.

"We get eleven days off in Hawaii, it's kind of hard to save money around all this stuff, a lot to buy a lot to see," said Sailor Jimmy Mercer.

"I got clothes, I got video games, stuff like that, some dvds," said Sailor Alex Moss.

A slice in savings for sailors, it's a serving of relief for restaurants.

"I think it's a bonus for us right now. With business the way it is today, I think we need that,"

said Executive Chef Reid Tamayose.

Leisure or a link for businesses to finally catch a break, for now, they're cashing in on RIMPAC's impact.

Aloha Tower Marketplace restaurants and shops say they're also seeing a boost in business. and while many say they'll be sad to see RIMPAC sailors leave, they're counting on other military visits to keep sales smooth sailing.