Photos: Hawaiian paradise

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  1. Waimea Canyon, Kauai

    Kalalau Valley, on Kauai's west side, is more than 3,000 feet deep and provides stunning panoramic views. Waimea is nicknamed "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific." (John Borthwick / Lonely Planet) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Honolulu, Hawaii

    Men row their Hawaiian outrigger canoe towards Waikiki beach, with Diamond Head in the background. Outrigger canoes are now used for recreation purposes and to ride the waves, but in times past they were the main means of transportation between the Hawaiian Islands. (Mike Nelson / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. The tranquil waters of Oahu

    Hanauma Bay is one of the finest stretches of beach in the world. (Eric L Wheater / Lonely Planet) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Surfer's paradise

    Australian Luke Egan competes on Oahu's North Shore, one of the best places in Hawaii to ride the big waves. (AFP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Water colors

    A school of manini fish pass over a coral reef at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Donald Miralle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Wailua Falls

    The beautiful 83-foot tiered Wailua Falls is an easily accessible, must-see waterfall on the island of Kauai. Wailua Falls was first made famous when it was featured in the television show, "Fantasy Island." (James Randklev / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Emerald peaks

    The iconic, towering emerald peaks of the 1,200-foot Iao Needle, stand out in Maui's Iao Valley State Park. (Adina Tovy Amsel / Lonely Planet) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Historic reminder

    The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, marks the resting place of many of the battleship's 1,177 crew members who lost their lives during the Attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 by the Japanese. The memorial is the "ground zero" of World War II. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Aloha!

    Hula dancers welcome the sailing crew of a Hokule'a, a canoe, into Kailua Bay. (Ronen Zilberman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. The heart of Hawaii

    The sun sets on Honolulu, Oahu's capital and Hawaii's largest, most populous city. (Robert Y. Ono / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Polynesian heat

    Brandon OFueo Maneafaiga, 23, of Waianae, Hawaii balances two flaming knifes during the 13th Annual World Fireknife Championship at the Polynesian Cultural Centre in Laie, Hawaii. (Lucy Pemoni / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Explosive attraction

    People watch from a viewing area as an explosion takes place on Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, in Pahoa, Hawaii. Legend says the volcano goddess Pele dug fire pits as she traveled from island to island looking for a home with her brothers and sisters. She finally settled at Kilauea's summit, where she lives at Halemaumau crater. (Leigh Hilbert / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Forces of nature

    The Dragon's Teeth are bizarre lava formations eroded by wind and salt spray at Makalua-puna Point. (Karl Lehmann / Lonely Planet) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Heaven on Earth

    Astronomy observatories are seen on the peak of the snow-covered, Mauna Kea mountain near Hilo, Hawaii. Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano. (Tim Wright / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. On the way to Sainthood

    Tourists walk through a cemetery past the grave, left, of Father Damien at Kalawao, Hawaii. After cancer patient Audrey Toguchi prayed to Father Damien, known for helping leprosy patients in Hawaii, to help her, and her cancer went away, Pope Benedict XVI approved the case in July 2008 as Damien's second miracle, opening the way for the 19th century Belgian priest to be declared a saint. (Eric Risberg / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Cool colors

    Rainbow eucalyptus (Mindanao Gum) trees grow in Keanae, Maui. Once a year, these magnificent trees shed their bark and take on the colors of the rainbow. (James Randklev / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Magic Sands

    An aerial view of La'aloa Beach Park or Magic Sands beach in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The beach is called Magic Sands because when rough surf hits, all of the sand is emptied off the beach and temporarily moved out to sea. (Brian Powers / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 10/28/2008 11:51:23 AM ET 2008-10-28T15:51:23

Hawaii welcomed nearly one-fifth fewer visitors in September than the same month last year, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism reported.

The 461,051 who came represented a 19.5 percent decline, part of a 9.3 percent drop for the first nine months of 2008.

Among the top four visitor markets, September arrivals from the U.S. East were down 26.2 percent, the largest decrease for the market since September 2001, the department said Monday.

Visitor arrivals from the largest market, U.S. West, dropped 21.5 percent, while Japanese arrivals decreased 19.8 percent and the Canadian market fell 6 percent.

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The decreases in U.S. West and U.S. East visitors were partially due to fewer cruise ship visitors in the islands compared to September 2007. There were 7,865 fewer U.S. West visitors and 12,513 fewer U.S. East visitors who either arrived by air to board cruise ships, or came by cruise ship to Hawaii last month.

"September visitor statistics are not unexpected and reflect the continued national and global economic challenges that are affecting tourism worldwide," State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert said.

"The Canadian market, which has been growing steadily since 2006, also experienced a slight decrease in arrivals this month," she said. "Compounding the decline was an early Labor Day, which fell on Sept. 1, as visitors arriving for the holiday weekend were counted in August."

All islands posted visitor declines in September, led by the Big Island, with a drop of 31.5 percent, and followed by Kauai (29.2 percent), Maui (27.3 percent), Molokai (23.1 percent), Lanai (21.6 percent) and Oahu (20.6 percent).

From January through September, total arrivals declined 9.3 percent from the same nine-month period last year to 5.2 million, the department said.

The visitors who arrived in Hawaii by air over the first nine months of 2008 spent $8.7 billion, a $692.5 million, or 7.4 percent, drop from the first three quarters of 2007, it said.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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