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As Golden Week approaches, anticipation builds for return of Japanese visitors

After a two-year absence, an influx of Japanese visitors is expected in the coming days for the country’s Golden Week holiday.
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 3:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After a two-year absence, an influx of Japanese visitors is expected in the coming days for the country’s Golden Week holiday.

“As a whole, they are one of the best tourists that we have,” said Jerry Agrusa, University of Hawaii travel industry management professor. “They shop, they spend a lot on local products and they bring a lot of stuff home and we want that.”

Japanese tourism has long been a key part of the visitor economy, accounting for about 12% of spending in 2019 with 1.6 million visitors.

While Hawaii can’t expect those numbers this year, businesses like Cheeseburger in Paradise are thrilled for any increased activity as Japanese customers made up 30 to 40% of sales.

“We hear the flights are booked and the hotels are booked, so we’re excited about it,” said Cheeseburger in Paradise assistant manager Christopher Dahl.

“They bring a lot of energy to the building, like I said, they’re a lot of fun and so we’re anticipating a big boost in sales from them, especially this weekend.”

Agrusa says Golden Week typically ranks just behind the Honolulu Marathon in terms of Japanese visitor spending.

That coupled with the country’s easing of COVID restrictions for returning residents fuels optimism that this week could be the start of a true return to normal.

“Let’s hope that Golden Week will be the gates opening, not the door, the gate,” Agrusa said.

“Let’s have the flood gate come. I know there’s a lot of pent up demand. there’s two years of visitors from Japan, limited visitors.”

The holiday week runs from April 29 to May 5.

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