Ban Damage: HI Tourism


Hawaii The Aloha State Is Now Less Welcoming to Smokers

Smoking ban’s effect on bars needs study
3/17/08? THE ISSUE
A report commissioned by the state has concluded that restrictions on smoking have not hurt the visitor industry.
Bar owners have complained that a state smoking ban that was extended to their establishments in late 2006 has been bad for business. A report by the state Department of Health maintains that it has not hurt Hawaii’s visitor industry but has failed to address the bar owners’ concerns. A more precise study is needed.
A report prepared for the department by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., found that the food and beverage sector of Hawaii’s tourism industry gained 212 more employees and 1,541 jobs since the law went into effect. It also said the state’s overall visitor spending, including that by visitors from Japan, was comparable last year to the previous year, although declining slightly.
Unfortunately, the report does not include data from the Honolulu Liquor Commission because it did not fall within the time period needed to evaluate the law’s effect. The Health Department should examine Liquor Commission data at the earliest opportunity to determine the ban’s effect.
In a legislative hearing in January, bar owners contended that the ban has cost them revenue. One said the no-smoking law has cut his business in half, resulting in a $65,000 loss last year. Bar owners have sought an entire exemption from the ban.
The health risk caused by secondhand smoke justifies a ban, although the Hawaii law is too broad by including open-air sections, where secondhand smoke poses little or no risk.

Hawaii tells Japan: ‘OK to smoke’

August 29, 2007
A government-backed marketing campaign to reassure Japanese tourists that they can still smoke in Hawaii has lit up a public health row in the US islands.
Hawaii Tourism Japan, which markets the islands in Japan, says the move is vital as many Japanese tourists wrongly think Hawaii has a blanket smoking ban.
The tourism group says that as a result of the misunderstanding, Japanese visitor numbers have fallen sharply.
Hawaiian anti-smoking groups said the marketing move was “very unfortunate”.
Free ashtrays
“This is not really sending a message that Hawaii is concerned about good health,” said Kathy Harty, interim president of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii.
The marketing campaign by Hawaii Tourism Japan has been called “Smoking with Aloha”.
Aloha is the main word of greeting in the Hawaiian language, but its use in this smoking context is somewhat unfortunate, as it directly translates as “breath of life”.
Under the initiative, Hawaii Tourism Japan is giving away some 40,000 free ashtrays with a flower logo and the words “Keep Hawaii Clean”.
Smoking in enclosed public places was banned in Hawaii last year.
Hawaiian tourism officials said the marketing campaign was necessary in Japan as some Japanese news reports had mistakenly suggested that smoking was now completely prohibited on the islands.
But Ms Harty said: “We shouldn’t give the message that aloha means smoking.”
Smoking in Japan remains as popular as levels in the West, and the country is home to the world’s third-largest privately-owned cigarette manufacturer – Japan Tobacco.

Ashtrays distributed in effort to lure more Japanese tourists to Hawaii
HONOLULU — A state-backed marketing campaign to reassure Japanese tourists that they can smoke in Hawaii has left one tobacco opponent smoldering.
“We shouldn’t give the message that aloha means smoking,” said Kathy Harty, interim president of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii.
The Smoking with Aloha marketing campaign by Hawaii Tourism Japan includes the distribution of portable ashtrays with a flower logo and the words “Keep Hawaii Clean.”
“Japanese believe that Hawaii is smoke-free, and Hawaii bookings, especially for the group market, have suffered,” said Yumi Ozaki, local director for Hawaii Tourism Japan, which has the state contract to market Hawaii travel in Japan.
Hawaii Tourism Japan, which markets Hawaii tourism in Japan, is trying to educate Japanese about the Smoke-Free Hawaii law that went into effect in December. Among other things, it prohibits smoking in restaurants, bars and public buildings. But it does not ban all smoking.
Some travel industry professionals and tourists have blamed the law, in part, for Hawaii’s depressed Japanese visitor market.
The use of the term “smoke-free” might be sending an incorrect message that the state is tougher on smokers than other destinations, according to Dave Erdman, president of PacRim Marketing, a firm specializing in Asian markets.
State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert said an inaccurate news account of the law last year in Japan led many Japanese tourists to be confused about the legislation.
It is too soon to tell if the marketing campaign, which began in June, will help increase tourism from Japan, she said.
The ashtrays, some 40,000 of which were made at a cost of about $1 each, are being disseminated mainly by Japanese travel agents and wholesalers to smoking clients.
“It’s very unfortunate that they chose to go that route,” Harty said. “Why don’t they give nonsmokers who chose to come here a lei? This is not really sending a message that Hawaii is concerned about good health.” (AP)

Comments are here:
“The whistle got blown this winter when a survey independent of the tobacco companies or the paid anti-smoking groups was done on what the owners and managers know first hand about the impact that the anti-smoking groups lied about for two months. This is the reality for bars. This is just part of the list due to size the limit.
Porky’s Down 50% Kathy Wants Ban Removed
Kailua Palace Down 50% Roy Wants Ban Removed
Ohana Lounge Down 90% Cory Wants Ban Removed
Tiares Down 30-40% Sophia Wants Ban Removed
Whitneys Down 45% Chae Wants Ban Removed
Ohana Lounge Down 70% Cory Wants Ban Removed
Komo Mai’s Down 50% Ann Wants Ban Removed
Flamingo’s Down 20% Angela Wants Ban Removed
Whittney Down 40% Mike Wants Ban Removed
Rock Rose Tavern Down 20% Niko Wants Ban Removed
Rosa’s Ice Tee Down 50% Ice Wants Ban Removed
Panama Hattie Down 30% Larry Wants Ban Removed
Top Hat Down 25% John Wants Ban Removed
Club Bunny girls Down 50% Young Wants Ban Removed
Club Marie Down 50% Marie Wants Ban Removed
Baijo’s Down 35% Me Chan Wants Ban Removed
Old Kemoo Pub Down 15% Jake Wants Ban Removed
Hui Ohana’s Down 50% Clay Wants Ban Removed
Mel Rose Down 20% Rosie Wants Ban Removed
Leeward Bowl Down 25% Richard Wants Ban Removed
Sunflower Down 10% Yong Likes the Ban
Club Chance Down 50% Per Owner Wants Ban Removed
Club Festival Down 50% Soo Yoong Wants Ban Removed
Diamond Castle Down 50% Per Owner Wants Ban Removed
Red Carnation Down 30% Per Owner Wants Ban Removed
Club Join Us Down 40% Candi Wants Ban Removed
Club Electro No Change Per Owner Doesn’t Care
Ting’s Down 50 % Ting Wants Ban Removed
Oasis Lounge Down 30% Kathy Wants Ban Removed
Club House Down 50% Su Gen Wants Ban Removed
Club Sahara Down 50% Per Owner Wants Ban Removed
Lagoon 500 Down 25% Sonya Wants Ban Removed
Club C&R; Down 50% Per Owner Wants Ban Removed
Caf? Bronco Down 10% Akiko Wants Ban Removed
Imperial Lounge Down 50% Linda Wants Ban Removed
Club Soo Mi Down 30% Soo Mi Wants Ban Removed
Club Pieces Down 40% Diane Wants Ban Removed
Linda’s Karaoke Down 20% Linda Wants Ban Removed
Club All In Down 40-50% Uni Wants Ban Removed
Club Jihae Down 40% Jihae Wants Ban Removed
Club Monabi Down 40% Mona Wants Ban Removed
Shinsotei No Change Helen Likes the Ban
Yuraku Cho Down 20% Harry Wants Ban Removed
Paul & Terry’s Down 25% Paul Wants Ban Removed
Club Tahoe No Change Jay Wants Ban Removed
Club New Bangkok Down 50% At Wants Ban Removed
Club Sundance Down 25% Kim Sa Wants ban Removed
Club Hibiscus Down 30% Bobby Wants Ban Removed
Ward Room Down 25% Miki Wants Ban Removed
Cafe Duck Butt Down 30-40% Jenny Wants Ban Removed
Just One Down 35% Andy Wants Ban Removed
Club 7 Kings Down 50% Pat Wants Ban Removed
Twenty Ten Down 50% Stacey Wants Ban Removed
King St Caf? Down 10% Per Manager Doesn’t Care
Pig Skins Down 40% Lance Wants Ban Removed
Crystal Palace Down 25% Joe Wants Ban Removed
Club Secret Down 50% Per Owner Wants Ban Removed
Club Romantei Down 45% Danny Wants Ban Removed
Anna Banana’s Down 20% Tim Wants Ban Removed
Sand Island Bar Down 30% Tonie Wants Ban Removed
J’s Sports Bar No Change Likes the Ban
Club Genji Down 15% Wants Ban Removed
Aku Bones Down 10% Kim Wants Ban Removed
Amy’s Place Down 25% Amy Wants Ban Removed
Ke Kais Down 20% Pat Wants Ban Removed
New Hanahou Down 55% Youn Wants Ban Removed
Gold Gate Lounge Down 25% Michelle Wants Ban Removed
Blue Sea Lounge Down 10% Lee Wants Ban Removed
Cache Down 25% Yvette Wants Ban Removed
Club Velvet Down 50 % Valerie Wants Ban Removed
Cheer’s Karaoke Down 10% JohnsonWants Ban Removed

“85% have lost business or oppose the ban. The average loss is 32%.
Many are braking the law just to stop the pain now with illegal seating or smoking inside. Just another warning sign about the delayed effect on tourism. I wouldn’t come here.
Thank You and Mahalo “

Hawaii Tourism Slumps on Heels of Smoking Ban
March 12, 2007
Carly Zander?
HONOLULU, Hawaii – Mar. 12? — According to Travel Hawaii LLC, Hawaii’s tourism industry is in a slump, with overall January arrivals down nearly 6 percent from January 2006 and the lucrative Japanese market down over 12 percent. The decline comes on the heels of Hawaii’s strict new smoking ban, which went into effect in November, and some in the tourism industry wonder whether the smoking ban is chasing away a good portion of Hawaii’s traditional clientele.
Japan is considered a “smoker’s paradise” relative to the U.S., and some observers feel that the cigarette-puffing Japanese tourists are being deterred from visiting Hawaii, in favor of more smoker-friendly destinations. “We’ve had several Japanese clients with pre-paid bookings cancel their reservations because they couldn’t get a smoking room,” said Chris Freas, Sales Manager at Travel Hawaii, a Hawaii-based Internet retailer (
Since the smoking ban went into effect, Hawaii’s hotels have become decidedly non-friendly to smokers. Entire large hotel chains — including Outrigger, Marriott, and ResortQuest — have banned smoking everywhere in their hotels, offering no smoking rooms or smoking areas anywhere in their hotels.
The most draconian of smoking policies, perhaps, belongs to ResortQuest, a moderately-priced chain of 29 hotels and condos. Clients checking in to a ResortQuest hotel in Hawaii are required to sign an agreement that they will be liable for a cleaning fee of $425 should the hotel determine that they have smoked in their room.
The Outrigger chain, with 25 hotels and condos, charges a cleaning fee of $150 should a client smoke in one of their rooms, though they don’t require the client to sign a separate agreement.
“The imposition of such cleaning fees is good news for non-smokers,” said Freas, “as there’s little chance they’ll check into a room that has that telltale odor.” But such policies will, of course, chase away a portion of potential clients who consider smoking a necessity.
Other hotel chains — such as Starwood and Prince — have dramatically limited the number of smoking rooms and smoking areas in their hotels. Smaller chains and individual hotels have a wide variety of new smoking policies, so smokers should do their research before traveling. A good place to start is the compendium of Hawaii hotel smoking policies that can be found on Travel Hawaii’s web site at:
“We believe the smoking ban is indeed having an impact on the Hawaii tourism market,” said John Lindelow, owner of Travel Hawaii. “Sales to Japanese travelers, in particular, are down considerably compared to last year, and we can’t help but wonder about the correlation between the ban and this slump in our industry.”
Figures released by the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism on Feb 27 indicate that arrivals from the U.S. West Coast were actually up by 1.4 percent for January, while arrivals from East Coast residents were down a whopping 9 percent. “Again, we can’t help wondering about this correlation,” said Lindelow, “since the West Coast states have, on average, a lower percentage of smokers than the East Coast and Mid-West states.”
About Travel Hawaii LLC
Founded in 1997 by computer scientist John Lindelow and travel agency owner Roz Rapozo, Travel Hawaii has become a leading Internet booking service for consumers wishing to vacation in Hawaii. Travel Hawaii maintains sophisticated online booking systems and databases focused on Hawaii travel.
For more information on the smoking policies of Hawaii hotels, visit

The Aloha State Is Now Less Welcoming to Smokers

December 12, 2006

HONOLULU, Dec. 10 — The Irish supergroup U2 was in town, some of the world’s best surfers were ripping waves off the North Shore and the Honolulu Marathon had pretty much every hotel room in Honolulu booked up. But at Captain Zack’s, a friendly dive bar here in the International Marketplace, the major topic for regulars this weekend involved ashtrays and alleyways.

In mid-November, Hawaii enacted one of the strictest antismoking laws in the country, outlawing smoking in bars, restaurants and most hotel rooms, as well as forbidding it within 20 feet of those establishments’ doorways, windows or ventilation intakes. For those at Captain Zack’s — which is partly open-air and sits on a small courtyard — that means smokers have to walk about 100 feet down a service alley, past garbage bins and into a street not even visible from the bar to have a smoke.

All of which leaves Jill Moratto miffed.

“We have to hide out like criminals,” said Ms. Moratto, who works in — no kidding — organ recovery. “I mean, I’ve smoked all over the world, but here I’m hiding out behind the Dumpster.”

Even more than upsetting locals, the question in Hawaii is how the new law will affect the lives of sun-and fun-seeking tourists, who pour more than $11 billion a year into the economy. In particular, some bartenders and business owners here are worried about upsetting a vital segment of the Hawaiian marketplace: the Japanese, who account for nearly one in five tourist dollars spent and are known to like to smoke. Japan is one of the world’s largest importers and consumers of cigarettes, according to the World Health Organization, with nearly half of all Japanese men smoking in 2003, though that number has been declining for decades.

The importance — and ubiquity — of the Japanese is evident on the beaches of Waikiki, where many signs are printed in English and Japanese and where Japanese buskers earn change singing Japanese love songs. Several major Japanese tour agencies have permanent offices in hotels along the beach, and some shops even accept yen.

But in recent weeks, dozens of new Japanese-language signs have been posted, including one at the Hyatt Waikiki identifying the hotel’s new “designated smoking area” as a walkway wedged between a convenience store and a bank of loud air conditioners. Other hotels have posted notices warning guests that they can be penalized for breaking the new law; at the Waikiki Sunset, just off the beach, those caught smoking in rooms — or letting other people smoke in their rooms — are threatened with a $425 “smoke elimination fee.”

Marsha Wienert, the state’s tourism liaison, said the tourism department started a campaign earlier this year to educate Japanese tourists about the changes in state law, working with travel agents and marketing groups in Japan to get the word out.

“Japanese visitors to Hawaii spend more per person per day than any other market segments, about $255 per day per person,” Ms. Wienert said. “And we are definitely conscious that they do like to smoke.”

Hiroyuki Fujimoto, a 29-year-old baker from Osaka, said he had gotten the message about the new law from friends before he booked his honeymoon here. “It’s really hard to smoke here,” said Mr. Fujimoto, who was smoking in front of the Hyatt late Friday night while his new wife stayed upstairs. “In Japan, it’s still something people do everywhere, like walking.”

State health officials said the new law, which passed easily earlier this year, was following a national trend. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, an antismoking group in Berkeley, Calif., more than 2,300 municipalities and nearly three dozen states have laws that limit where people can smoke.

In Hawaii, all of the islands already had restrictions on smoking in restaurants. “I think that we felt that tobacco-free areas are a social norm,” said Janice Okubo, the communications director for the Hawaii Department of Health. “It’s become an accepted practice.”

But Hawaii is not the only place where people are upset about new smoking restrictions.

Last week, a judge in Nevada blocked putting into effect in the Las Vegas area a recent ballot measure that would ban smoking in many public places, including indoor restaurants and any bar with a food-handling license. The restraining order was prompted by a lawsuit from a group of business owners who thought the ban was unconstitutional and could hurt their bottom line.

Ms. Wienert of the Hawaii tourism agency said the new law had not brought complaints from Japanese tour agencies or a loss of business, but added that her department was “watching it carefully to see if there’s any decrease because of that.”

Warren Shaw, a bartender at Zack’s, said he did not like the law for other reasons.

“I spend all my time now running smokers out of the bathroom and chasing them around the corner,” said Mr. Shaw, who said he used to smoke behind the bar. “I understand the nonsmokers’ position, but good Lord, we can’t find a place for people to smoke outdoors?”

He agreed that it was too soon to say whether the ban would hurt business — Japanese or otherwise — though he had initially lost some regulars after the new law was enacted. “I literally had people just going home because they couldn’t smoke,” Mr. Shaw said. “But now they’re coming back. I guess they’re tired of being inside.”

Antis: What to expect

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