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Will 'no smoking' mean less tourism?

Publication Date: 8/13/2006
  • Author:Lynda Arakawa
  • Publication:Honolulu Advertiser

Japanese smokers have become more tolerant of smoking bans when they travel, so a new state law that prohibits lighting up in bars and airports starting on Nov. 16 shouldn't scare away potential customers, Hawai'i tourism officials said.

The law bans smoking in airports, bars and nightclubs, raising some questions about the impact on an already-sluggish Japanese visitor market.

Few in the industry, however, say the new smoking restrictions will turn off Japanese visitors to Hawai'i.

"They are used to the idea of how difficult it is to smoke outside of Japan," said Kiyoko Tanji, general manager of state marketer Hawai'i Tourism Japan, who added that fewer Japanese are smoking nowadays. When smoking was banned on flights from Japan, it didn't stop people from traveling, Tanji said.