Businesses affected by tourism looking to other areas to bring in income


HONOLULU (KHON2) — While visitor numbers are slowly climbing, they are still low, leaving some businesses in tourist areas to look for ways to attract the local crowds. Many do not believe they’ll see major rises in tourism numbers until the 14-day quarantine is lifted.

Prior to the pandemic Dive Oahu made most of its sales renting out surfboards and snorkels in Waikiki and Hanauma Bay. However, now the bulk of their sales is coming from their shops in Kakaako and Pearl Harbor.

“We’ve been kind of lucky on the retail side, the spear fishing, diving, you know people… the locals are hitting the water more so they need all that gear,” said Shelly Rofrits, Dive Oahu president.

Locations outside of Waikiki are also helping Musubi Cafe. Co-owner Takaya Osada, said while their Wakiki restaurant is taking a hit, their Ala Moana, Kahala Mall and Keeamoku locations are doing much better than they thought.

“May definitely (picked up) and this month, (it’s) getting better and better,” said Osada.

He said a large part is due to other businesses opening up.

“Workers need to eat too, and especially (at the) Ala Moana location, Macy’s and Apple and all those big names open… and (their workers) come to our business,” said Osada.

While retailers and restaurants have some flexibility, for Waikiki hotels, there are really only two options, either they are open or they are closed. For now, many are closed.

“Everybody is anxious to get back to work, we want things to get back to normal but we want to be as safe as possible as we get to that point,” said Kyle Baxter, Moana Surfrider Beach House Restaurant server.

Baxter said he’s still waiting to hear back from the hotel on safety measures, but he knows what he wants to see at the restaurant he works at.

“Probably more people to clean, probably more bus boys adding a new department, maybe food runners to run the food so you don’t run into the problem of cross contamination… too many people touching too many plates,” said Baxter.

He said he also wants to know that there are enough supplies for all workers so they don’t have to worry when doing their work or cleaning.

Right now, he said it’s a wait and see to find out what happens as July gets closer.

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