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Hawaii Tourism Authority Releases Numbers

March 4, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox

As a prime vacation destination, Hawaii is back. That's the sentiment behind a statement released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, which had some very positive numbers to encourage the optimism.

Assessing the markets, the Authority anticipated the uptick that started  at the end of the fourth quarter in 2009 would continue through January 2010. Among the positive indicators were the growth in visitor spending (up for the second consecutive month) and an increase in arrivals from the U.S. West for eight of the last nine months. The Pacific Northwest marketing blitz in fall 2009 reportedly increased arrivals from Oregon by 8.7 percent and Washington by 6.9 percent.

"Our success with increasing air access has paid off most notably this month with the Canadian market," said Mike McCartney, president and CEO Hawaii Tourism Authority. "Arrivals from Canada increased 17.7 percent and total spending climbed 23.6 percent over last year to $105.9 million. Canadian travelers are taking advantage of the 60.5 percent increase in air seats with the additional service out of Calgary, Victoria and Vancouver. Again, our Pacific Northwest marketing blitz, which also targeted Vancouver, seems to have generated increased bookings. Canadian visitors are also spending more per day; $151 per person compared with $141 in January 2009."

Substantial growth in total visitor spending on Hawaii Island, up 15.3 percent to $144.8 million, and Maui, up 5.7 percent to $267.5 million, compared with last January is another highlight. Hawaii Island, Maui and Kauai all saw positive visitor arrival growth.

"We are very engaged with meetings, convention and incentive travel, which we forecast to be down for the first half of 2010," McCartney continued. "We see much of the business and group bookings coming toward the end of the year with inquiries for future meetings, conventions and incentives."

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