Friday, May 11, 2007

What Will Happen To Hawaii?

What will happen to Hawaii? I mean, just look at it. It is really far from everything. Honolulu is 2595 miles from Portland, Oregon. New York is actually closer to Portland at only 2442 miles away! Most Americans get to and from Hawaii by jet, consuming huge amounts of ever more expensive jet fuel. In 2000, there were just under 7 million tourist arrivals.

But this year tourism from Japan is already down:
But JAL reported traffic to Hawaii in this year's Golden Week, which ran from April 28 to May 6, was 8.6 percent below last year. Higher room rates, fuel surcharges and departure taxes as well as difficulty getting air seats and hotel rooms appear to be holding back demand. -- Honolulu Star Bulletin, May 8, 2007

Now let's take a look back to what happened there when tourism dropped just after September 11, 2001. This is from The New York Times on September 29, 2001:

With tourists reluctant to fly and spend, Hawaii has become a forlorn and eerily quiet place. The famed beaches are mostly deserted. Most hotels are less than half full. Restaurants open late and close early, if they open at all. Taxis and tour buses are empty. Entertainers have canceled shows. About the only busy place, it seems, is the unemployment office, where the freshly furloughed wait in line up to four hours and the number of claims has tripled.

The mood has become so grave that the state's normally cautious governor, Benjamin J. Cayetano, has warned that ''Hawaii is facing its worst economic crisis ever'' and called an emergency session of the Legislature to borrow $1 billion to stimulate the economy.

-- The New York Times
It seems very likely that Hawaii will face that situation again as jet fuel prices rise dramatically, only this time the change could be permanent.

What will happen to Hawaii? Will it once again become a lonely, forgotten corner of the world? I haven't seen any World Without Oil reports coming from Hawaii. Is there anyone out there?

[Note: this is a World Without Oil post, but all the facts and articles quoted are real.]

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