Compared to last year’s Honolulu Marathon (which was nine months after the Great East Japan Earthquake), more Japanese runners are expected to fly over to join this year’s run event. Both the organizers and the tourism industry are eagerly awaiting the influx of Japanese citizens in the city.
According to Jerry Agrusa, professor of travel industry management at Hawaii Pacific University, the Japanese who visit Honolulu during the marathon stay longer than other Japanese tourists who visit the island. And of course, they spend more, which will bring even more smiles to hotels, retailers and other tourism-related businesses in the city. In a survey by Agrusa and his students, last year’s visitors spent an average of $350 a day, $40 more than the average Japanese tourists. Out of the 1,200 respondents, 20% said that they also planned to visit neighbouring islands.
The organizers of this year’s Honolulu Marathon are expecting around 16,000 Japanese runners. Argusa believes that the Japanese government’s campaign to urge people to go back to their normal lives after last year’s disaster is a factor to the increased number of participants. Hawaiian Airlines’ new routes from Japan also helped encourage more to travel to Honolulu. Japanese runners are crazy about marathons, and in fact, the annual Tokyo Marathon has been recognized as one of the World’s Major Marathons, along with Berlin, Boston, Chicago, New York, and London.
This year’s Honolulu Marathon is the biggest since 1997. 30,000 participants have signed up, with organizers expecting the numbers to increase to 31,000.[ via Pacific Business News ]