Ever since Samoa jumped to the future by moving to the western side of the International Date Line in 2011, tourism authorities in Hawaii have been closely monitoring the situation in Samoa to see what effect it’s had on the nation’s tourism.
In a tactic, which was described by renowned Gadling blogger Sean McLachlan as “a shrewd business move,” Samoa reasoned that by moving to the western side of the International Date Line (aka, “tomorrow”), it would attract more tourists from Australia and New Zealand who no longer had to deal with the inconvenience of adjusting their clocks nearly 23 hours backwards.
Now, nearly two years after the move by the Samoans, Hawaii tourism officials have cited the 3400% increase in tourism to Samoa as strong reasoning for making the jump to “the other side.”
“At first we were critical of the move by the Samoans” admitted Hawaiian tourism official Seth Forsyth. “But in the last 18 months the Samoans have exhibited such an astronomical influx of Australian and Kiwi tourists that there’s no denying they moved to the right neighborhood.”
Forsyth admits, however, that a move by Hawaii to the west side of the date line wouldn’t be aimed at Australian tourists, because, as he so eloquently puts it, “if you’ve ever tangled with an angry Samoan then you know what I’m talking about. We wouldn’t want to steal their visitors.”
Instead, Hawaii tourism officials are looking to draw visitors from other nations that sit just across the imaginary fence. Amongst those markets, which seem to exhibit the most potential are travelers from New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea and the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia.
With word of the move already percolating through the Hawaiian business community, Hawaiian-themed knick-knacks that will cater to the new visitors are already in the works.
According to Jason Cantor, a forward-thinking souvenir trader from Lahaina, Maui, in order to get a jump on the shifting souvenir trade his company is in serious pre-production of “Aloha” vodka flasks and plumeria-scented penis sheaths. According to Cantor, he expects these items to be “the new tiki doll.”
While the move by Hawaii seems to be a foregone conclusion, geographic restructuring is similarly being considered by tourism boards across the western hemisphere.
“I’ve actually been in talks with officials from Nevada, Panama and even Rhode Island” admits Forsyth. “There are a few logistical issues to work out, of course, but in the end I really think it’s in everyone’s best interests.”
[Photo Credit: Heather Ellison]