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Hawaii Visitor Spending Up 25 Percent

December 1, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox

Great news from the Aloha State: Total expenditures by visitors who came to Hawaii in October 2010 climbed 24.7 percent, or $190.6 million, to $961.5 million compared to 2009.

Total expenditures for the first 10 months of 2010 were $9.33 billion, an increase of 14.7 percent and more than one billion dollars over the same period last year, according to preliminary statistics released this week by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The growth in visitor spending for October 2010 was due to a boost in average daily visitor spending (+9.6 percent) and a 13.6 percent increase in total visitor arrivals to 574,425 visitors. Total arrivals by air rose 14 percent from October 2009 to 564,336 visitors. U.S. West (+21.4 percent), Canada (+17.2 percent) and U.S. East (+6.1 percent) showed strong, positive growth. Japan also increased 1.6 percent in visitor arrivals. For the first 10 months of 2010, total visitor days for all visitors grew 8.1 percent compared to year-to-date 2009, and total arrivals rose 7.8 percent, to 5,873,255 visitors. 

"The results for October can be best described as 'cautious optimism,'" said Mike McCartney, President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. "But, while the trends are positive, we have not yet fully recovered …We need to continue our efforts to aggressively market Hawaii to help drive demand. We are pleased that the growth trends reflect the effectiveness of HTA's marketing strategies.

The state received more visitors from areas in which it advertised heavily, including the West Coast, Canada and Chicago, McCartney said.

"Our strategy of driving visitors to all islands is also paying off with an increase in arrivals and spending on the Neighbor Islands and an overall increase in length of stay. Of special note is the increase in the number of visitors that visit only one island during their stay. Again, these results are consistent with HTA's efforts to increase direct air access to the Neighbor Islands. Despite the loss of JAL's Narita-Kona flight in October, we still saw an increase in Japanese visitors during the first ten months of 2010. This represents a gain in market share of all Japanese residents traveling abroad.

McCartney said Hawaii has several reasons to be optimistic about the rest of the year. Although fewer people have visited the state for conventions so far this year, corporate meetings and charter flights from Asia have driven more visitors to Hawaii.

"There is no doubt that we are in a solid position, especially compared to other markets that are not rebounding at the same pace as Hawaii," McCartney said. "Nevertheless, strengthening Hawaii's tourism economy remains our top priority because, as we all know, tourism can be the main driver of economic recovery for the entire state."

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