Thursday, June 07, 2007

I'm back! Impression of Hawaii

I'm back a bit early from the honey moon; a side trip was canceled, you see yours truly is sick and the wife chose to go back to work to preserve vacation. No biggie.

Ok, update on Hawaii.

Kauai: Lovely island, well worth the visit. However, say good bye to so much of the green space. The ranch where we zip lined (east side, near Priceville) is being sold off to Bill Gates and friends to create a retreat for the uber rich. (They even stretched the Princeville airports runway so that small business jets can get in an out rather than being limited to prop-jobbers.) The amount of construction everywhere was mind boggling.
Kauai emotions: Anxiety (the 9% uptick in tourist dollars, primarily from west coast fliers has them thinking they're ok. They probably are for a few more months ok too... but lots of properties for sale. In some condo complexes as much as five units.

The big Island of Hawaii. My favorite Island of this trip (even though we did more activities on Kauai). Some concern... tourist dollar growth is below inflation and they know it. The USA's largest new suburb is going up on the big Island (under the volcano... sell it to me baby!). A huge fraction of building being built, many for sale.

Emotion big Island of Hawaii: Denial

Oahu: Fun island even when you are sick. ;) Fast passed. The economy appears to be driven by big-spending Japanese tourists. However, the number of Japanese tourists is down 10%. We stayed in an awesome hotel, Prince Hawaiian, that caters to the Japanese customer (but lately has been forced to switch to Priceline/business customers that pay 33% to 66% of what the Japanese tourists were paying. The staff of this hotel is amazing. They also will happily chat with you. The kid who drove the courtesy van was quite worried. He gave the following reasons for the Japanese slowdown (and that is all that is hurting Oahu right now).
1. ANA and Japan Airlines have raised faires.
2. Cheaper vacation alternatives for them in Asia/Australia.

He also noted the Japanese were selling their Oahu properties to reinvest elsewhere.

Emotion on Oahu: Fear No doubt about it. Tables were available in restaurants that never have tables available post memorial day... something is up.

Yes, no statistics, just a few observation. I was enjoying an incredible honeymoon. :) My favorite part? The helicopter tour. All the stats are from a big Island newspaper that is somewhere in my laundry filled luggage. ;)

Got popcorn?


Rob Dawg said...

Sounds fun for you scary for them. If you liked the helo you'd have loved the airplane.

tj & the bear said...

Welcome back!!!

wannabuy said...

Yes I'm back. :)

I'd never done a helo before (funny, considering I'm an aviation nut...)

I *really* wanted to do the airplane... but wiffey gets motion sick and I was warned the helicopter is much easier than the small planes.

Another day...

Great trip... Kauai really is a great island. But its absolutely hilarious the quantity of chickens running around that island... ;)

All the islands will take a hit. With the Japanese seemingly going into a cash conservation mode... Oahu will be hit the worst. Cest la vie. But as the West Coast enters recession... that's going to hit the other islands... hard.

Got popcorn?

Rob Dawg said...

If the USD tanks versus YEN then the Japanese could be their salvation.

AlohaBubble said...

Spot on - another reason for the Japanese slump on Oahu is the strict nonsmoking laws passed last year. Evidence is anecdotal, but many Asia travel wholesalers are reporting that their tobacco-dependent clients would rather visit a location where they can smoke freely.

Any way you slice it, hard times are coming to HI.