The situation in Japan in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami continues to evolve. And the people of Hawaii have demonstrated a great deal of caring and solidarity with the people of Japan.
Even though the situation changes on a daily basis, the Hawaii Tourism Authority will provide ongoing updates as information becomes available. The following are updates as of March 17, 2011 (1:00 pm HST):
1. The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) board chair, Ron Williams, and its president and CEO, Mike McCartney, went to the Hawaii Island on March 14 to view the areas that were impacted by the tsunami, including Alii Drive in Kona and Hualalai. They confirmed that there was limited impact to the visitor infrastructure in the area. King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel is open and accommodating guests, and most businesses on Alii Drive have reopened. Click here for details.
2. The last remaining visitors from Japan displaced by canceled flights due to the tsunami have returned to Japan.
3. On March 17, President Barack Obama spoke at the White House about the ongoing situation in Japan. In his remarks he stated, “We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the United States, whether it’s the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska, or U.S. territories in the Pacific.” For the complete transcript of his remarks, go to: President Barack Obama March 17 Remarks
4. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko also stated that the NRC does not expect any harmful levels of radiation to affect Hawaii. To view the March 13 NRC news release, go to: NRC March 13 News Release (pdf.)
5. “Aloha for Japan,” a statewide relief effort for earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan was launched by Hawaii business leaders, the visitor industry, members of the Japanese American community, Lt. Governor Brian Schatz, and Japan Consul General Yoshihiko Kamo. Hawaii’s largest banking institutions have all agreed to serve as collection points for donations. Music concerts and TV programs are also being developed. For more information about the effort, go to www.alohaforjapan.com.
6. The HTA has been responding to numerous inquiries from news media around the world who are asking about the impact of the tsunami on Hawaii. On March 15, Mike McCartney was interviewed on CNBC to discuss the impact of the Japan disaster on Hawaii’s tourism industry. The following is a link to the story for your reference: CNBC Interview with Mike McCartney
Any impact on visitors should be minimal and travelers planning to visit Hawaii should continue to do so with confidence.
If you have any questions, please contact the HTA at (808) 973-2255.