As indicated by the news from two fronts, Kauai’s popularity as a vacation and tourist destination is continuing to soar.
According to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Kaua’i led all of Hawai’i in percentage growth of visitor traffic for the first half of this month. More than 540,000 travelers—almost 100,000 in June alone—streamed to the island, an increase of almost 5 percent over the visitor tally for the front end of 1999. Barring a big dropoff in tourist arrivals the rest of 2000, Kaua’i is headed for a fourth consecutive year of more than 1 million visitors.
The entire state also is on track for one of its best tourism years. So it was no coincidence that, on another front, Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays announced it is adding four more non-stop flights to Hawai’i. Blazing the extra tourism trails is expected by the company to pump an additional $100 million in revenue into the state’s economy.
Residents of Kaua’i and statewide who aren’t enamored with visitors might wish the tourism gains weren’t so impressive. Even some visitors worry that the leisurely pace of Kaua’i that attracts them may change forever as more of them vacation here.
There’s no question that the ability of Kauai’s infrastructure to keep pace with booming tourism must be continually monitored and upgraded. But from a standpoint of pure numbers and overall economic growth, Hawai’i is winning the game.