SOURCE: Travel Hawaii LLC

Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

February 16, 2010 18:42 ET

Smokers Say Non-Smoking Policies at Hawaii Hotels Stink

Travel-Hawaii.com Continues to Track Evolving Smoking Rules at Hawaii Resorts and Hotels

HONOLULU, HI--(Marketwire - February 16, 2010) -  According to Travel-Hawaii.com, Hawaii may be losing a boatload of tourists because of Hawaii's restrictive smoking law, implemented in November of 2006. "Our Hawaii hotel smoking policy webpage tells the story," said John Lindelow, owner of Travel-Hawaii.com, a Hawaii-based Internet retailer. "Ninety-five percent of the blog comments we get on this page are from smokers who are complaining about how restrictive Hawaii's anti-smoking policies are. Many swear they'll never come to Hawaii again."

Here's a few representative blog excerpts:

  • "I have no desire to spend vacation money in Hawaii if smoking is not even allowed on balconies. There are many other destinations to see that do not have these stipulations."
  • "We feel like criminals."
  • "We were planning another vacation in Hawaii -- until an angry friend returned with the news that smokers there are now being treated worse than Gitmo terrorists."

Travel-Hawaii.com maintains an extensive database of smoking policies at Hawaii's hotels and resorts. Some 220 hotels and their smoking policies are detailed on this webpage. Since late 2006 when the smoking law was implemented, more and more hotels have made all of their hotel rooms non-smoking. "There's about 50 hotels in Hawaii right now that allow smoking in some rooms," said Lindelow. "That's about 23 percent of the major hotels, resorts, and condos." So smokers have to shop around to find a smoker-friendly hotel. "We've also had the problem of hotels changing policy without notice. They'll have smoking rooms one month, and then the next month, they're completely non-smoking."

Some hotels don't allow smoking in any room and don't have any smoking areas on property. Other hotels don't allow smoking in rooms, but do provide designated outdoor areas where smokers can light up. However, these designated smoking areas can range from lovely gardens to dark parking lots next to the garbage. One blogger put it this way: "What a shock when checking in to find out that you cannot even smoke on your lanai or on property (other than a dirty little corner in the parking lot)! So most of my time was spent in this dirty little corner and was very unsafe for us women smokers."

Gauging the exact impact of smoking restrictions on Hawaii's tourism industry is difficult, but there's definitely a vocal group of smokers who are angry and are voting with their wallets. The impact on Hawaii's large base of Japanese visitors is likely greater than on English-speaking tourists, since smoking is generally more prevalent in Japan than in the US. "We maintain our Hawaii hotel smoking policy page in Japanese as well," said Lindelow, "and it's a very popular page on our Japanese web site."

About Travel-Hawaii.com
Founded in 1997, Travel-Hawaii.com is a leading Internet booking service for consumers wishing to vacation in Hawaii. Travel-Hawaii.com maintains sophisticated online booking systems and databases focused on Hawaii travel.

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