Local tour company losing $50K a day from government shutdown

Local tour company losing $50K a day from government shutdown

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The USS Arizona Memorial is the bedrock of business for Discover Hawaii Tours. Every tour the company offers includes the popular stop. The government shutdown closing off the Arizona has slashed revenue.

"The dollar impact is at least $50,000 a day," operations manager Arnold Albiar said. "People are not booking because they're afraid of us taking their money for something that may not happen."

Discover Hawaii takes more than 500 people a day to the memorial. Since shutdown talk began, bookings have dropped 60 to 70 percent.

"Now we have to tell them, 'These thousands of dollars you spent, you crossed the ocean to come here, but I'm sorry you can't go to the Arizona,'" Albiar said.

The memorial draws 4,000 visitors a day. Tuesday saw only a trickle of traffic. Those who did stop saw an unusual site -- the gates were locked and the place was deserted.

"Especially for Pearl Harbor we came this way. So now it's closed. We cannot go in. It's a big disappointment," said Ruben Bijvank of Holland.

"Unfortunately, we planned it for the very last day and that's the day the government got shut down. So it's partially our fault," Kentucky native Royce Meredith said.

Discover Hawaii is issuing refunds, rescheduling tours and reacting to the ripple effect.

"It affects all our different vendors, whether we're taking them to the Polynesian Cultural Center, whether we're taking them to the Byodo-in Temple. We have other vendors that we support," Albiar said.

Multiple packages that include the Arizona are being modified. With no end in site for the shutdown and as unsettling as it is, management is thinking worst case scenario.

"We would have to cut people's hours," Albiar said. "Hopefully, it doesn't get to that."

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