According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority , more than 26,000 people visited the island this year as of April, a 6 percent decline from the same period last year. Niihau is Hawaii's smallest inhabited island, but permission is required to visit.
Arakawa said the sale could again alter the economic structure of the island and its residents, who have seen the passing of Lanai's longtime pineapple industry and now rely on employment at resorts, golf courses and other businesses. Aside from the hotels, the island's infrastructure is at stake, he noted.
"I have to be able to feel out the perspective new owner and what their intentions are," Arakawa said.
He said he's confident that Murdock's love for the island will mean ensuring the new owner is a good steward, evidenced by Arakawa being regularly updated on sale developments.
"They will consult with us because they know it's critical for the survival of the island," he said. "I know that Mr. Murdock really likes the island. A lot of this has been sentimental for him. He's put a lot of money into the island."
But he understands Murdock's desire to sell. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported the island produced annual losses of roughly $20 million to $30 million from 2006 to 2010.Page 2 of 2 | Prev Page