LIHUE, KAUAI (KHNL) - After struggling to get back on its feet after Hurricane Iniki more than 15 years ago, Kauai's tourism industry now faces another tough challenge during our slumping economy.
From moving a little more than a hundred thousand dollars of its budget to immediate publicity campaigns, to billboards in New York City, the Kauai Visitors Bureau hopes things change soon as it toughs it out.
Visitors have fun in the sun at Kauai's pristine south shore. They enjoy beaches without the normal heavy crowds.
"Psychologically right now there's a lot of discussion in the media about the financial situation about the banking situation, very overwhelming," Kauai Visitors Bureau executive director Sue Kanoho said.
That mindset has forced many visitors, like the Robwells, to cut back on spending while on vacation.
"Since we've come all this way, we're kind of biting the bullet," Visitor Brad Robwell said. "I know it's gonna hurt a little big when we get back, but we're working on just having a good time, not too worried about spending."
Kauai is taking its message to bigger stages, like this billboard in Times Square, New York.
"The intent was to get as much exposure as we could, but we were really pleased to see what we got out of that press release," Kanoho said.
Visitors appreciate those efforts.
"Being from the mainland, we don't have oceans like this, we don't have animals like this, we don't have volcanoes like this, so even though it's difficult to make the journey, we still try," Visitor Tom Gates said.
Visitors like tom gates find ways to stretch their dollars.
"Tendency sometimes to have one big meal a day versus two big meals a day, though we love to eat, again we still want to eat well and we can't enjoy ourselves, but we may not eat as frequent to getting that one special memento," Gates said.
Kanoho said the key is finding those visitors who are looking for an unforgettable experience.
"So the intent is to try to find those who still want to travel, who still can travel and making them understand what the availability of product is out there to have an experience that's a great vacation," she said.
Competing hard to bring in more visitors by highlighting the benefits of a vacation experience on the Garden Isle.
Kauai tourism leaders are currently targeting travelers in key markets across the nation with the message that a vacation there costs less today than it did a year ago.
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