While the U.S. West continues to be the main driver of visitors to Kauai (Hawaii), followed by the U.S. East, countries representing Canada, Japan and geographic regions of Europe, Oceania Asia, Latin America and others represent a growing segment of the Kauai market. In the ‘60s and ‘70s, the wave of Japanese visitors had Kauai as the No. 1 neighbor island choice. Today, it represents a small but, still important sector of the economy. In the same range of the data provided, Europe and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) are about on par with Japan. A striking difference is in the length of stay, for example, among Europeans who average about two to three weeks of travel unlike their Japanese counterparts.
An important and growing segment is the Other Asia category which includes Korea, China and Taiwan which comprise East Asia. These “Tiger” economies clearly represent Hawaii’s future and must fit into our visitor algorithm when it comes to providing accommodations, services, attractions, etc. In recognition of the small but growing Chinese market, the Chamber has a Basic Chinese for Visitor Industry, Restaurant, Retail and General Business Use, thanks to the support and partnership of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association – Kauai Chapter and Kauai Visitors Bureau.
While the class will focus on the cultural and doing business aspect rather than primarily the language focus, for very basic beginners, especially, those in these industry sectors, it will begin the process of creating a workforce a little more in tune with what our Chinese guests expectations are, including perceptions vis-à-vis of each other.
Hawaiian Airlines recent launch of direct Beijing-Honolulu service in April of this year represents a commitment by Hawaii’s airline in executing a long-term plan of this strategic market that has historical, cultural and geographic ties to Hawaii. Research has confirmed that the Chinese visitors’ daily expenditures are much higher than the Japanese visitor. For some of the Kauai businesses who have had visitors from China, while Kauai has a long way to go in growing our market share, investments in staff training, infrastructure (signage, etc.) and other helpful bilingual information (websites which have Mandarin translation) will help Chinese visitors navigate their experience on Kauai to become successful one.