Newsflash: Hawaii doesn’t have enough Japanese people

The state of Hawaii is facing a minor crisis: not enough Japanese tourists. So they’ve enlisted advertising megafirm Dentsu to sell the state to people in Japan. And, since every ad in Japan needs a cute face, they brought actress Mayumi Sada on board.

Well, okay, she’s not that cute. More “sophisticated.” Anyway, the Honolulu Advertiser reports:

Through November, Japanese visitor arrivals were down nearly 9 percent. Takashi Ichikura, executive director of Hawai’i Tourism Japan, blamed the decline on fewer airline seats from Japan to Hawai’i, rising fuel surcharges on air travel, rising hotel charges and a weakening of the Japanese yen. Hawai’i Tourism Japan was hired by the state to promote Hawai’i in Japan.

“With the rising fuel surcharge and other cost factors, Hawai’i now looks expensive in Japanese consumers’ eyes, and they expect Hawai’i to be a refined and sophisticated destination to match the price they are paying,” Ichikura said.

… The campaign, called “Discover Aloha,” is meant to depict the experiences of a female visitor who experiences the feeling of aloha through various encounters that could only happen in Hawai’i.

My dirty mind had high hopes when I read that last part, but Dentsu let me down.

The effort includes two posters featuring hula and lei-making and another showing Sada reflecting on her Hawai’i experiences from a lanai overlooking the ocean.

It still sounds kind of like running “Visit Texas” ads in Mexico, doesn’t it?

6 thoughts on “Newsflash: Hawaii doesn’t have enough Japanese people”

  1. Thank you both for the lovely photos.

    Dentsu organised the Town Hall meetings, right?

    Poor Hawai’i.

  2. Last trip to Hawaii, about all I saw were Japanese tourists. And the majority were engaged in what tourists do most, which is shop. Hawaii’s problem is that shopping isn’t cheap, especially when compared to some closer Asian destinations, and that may deter many Japanese tourists. Plus, Hawaii has its requisite number of street bums, some of whom spend their nights in parks near Waikiki. Come to Hawaii, spend a few hundred U.S. $ a night for a decent hotel room near a nice park, and get accosted by panhandlers as you take you morning walk.

    No thanks.

    Hawaii is highly overrated, mainly because most American visitors have never seen another tropical (or subtropical) island. Their are better beaches in Asia, they are cheaper to get to, hotel service is first rate, and the shopping is “mo betta”. And as far as panhandlers are concerned, Asia’s look really needy, as opposed to the plump, sneering, “i don haffa work but gimme a couple a dolla” types you run into along Waikiki.

  3. I had a Japanese friend go to Hawaii for a few weeks, and being frustrated that all the shop keepers were talking to him in Japanese, started pretending he was Korean so that he could practice his English more.

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