Paying for paradise

Life’s not quite a beach for the tourism industry in a down market – with state parks threatening to shut down in California , and hotel rooms going for cheap in big cities, the end of summer also means a shrinking bottom line for the tourism business.

The winter snowbirds have yet to arrive, but sun and sand mecca Hawaii is no exception to the downturn. As Hawaii Public Radio’s Ben Markus reports, the smaller islands like Kauai are turning to some new techniques to bring people off Oahu and exploring the other islands. The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic South Pacific was filmed in Kauai 50 years ago, and they are hoping a performance from the film’s original star, Mitzi Gaynor, will attract a crowd.

But it’s not just resort hot spots like Hawaii that are hurting. This summer, travel was down around the rest of the U.S. LaToya Dennis reported from Madison, Wisconsin on how cost concerns curtailed vacations for Wisconsin families.

And in Arizona, KJZZ’s Dennis Lambert spoke with a tourism industry official, who reported that fewer business an personal travelers are coming to Phoenix, causing the hotel revenue to drop nearly 30% over the summer.

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Even if vacations are pricey, you can still travel virtually. Ken Burns new project, America’s National Parks, just launched a new website, featuring video and images from the Grand Canyon to Acadia.

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