In the past, Hawaii has always been a favorite winter escape for both fellow Americans and international visitors alike, but years of meager sales due to economic recession have had tourism officials concerned about dipping sales. 2008 began the slide and 2009 has been described by one tourism official as “abysmal.” Recent trends in currency exchange rates and trouble in other winter hotspots like Mexico, have, however, helped put those fears out of mind, and tourists in the resorts.
Also adding to the sunny turn in sales, are positive publicity events for the islands such as the return of TV sun and surf police drama, “Hawaii Five-o,” and the NFL Pro Bowl game being hosted in Honolulu. Locals also cite the “Obama effect” as positive as well; media images of the president lounging about, eating ice-cream, and apparently relaxed demeanor help to give the islands a positive connotation.
While it is still unclear whether or not the current winter will be one for the record books, persistent bitter cold and unnatural bouts of snow in the Deep South have made this winter appear to be a winter to remember. Here in Hawaii, with the crowds at the beaches and winter surf competitions underway, it appears to be one we won’t soon forget either.