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Hawaii's Tourism Numbers Continue to RiseJanuary 27, 2011 By: Jena Tesse Fox
Hawaii's tourism industry showed a strong level of recovery in 2010, attracting more than seven million visitors and $11.4 billion in visitor spending. This marked an increase of 17.9 percent, or $167.7 million, from December 2009. Total expenditures for calendar year 2010 reached $11.4 billion, 16.2 percent higher compared to 2009, according to preliminary statistics released yesterday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
The growth in visitor spending for the month of December 2010 was due to higher average daily visitor spending (+9.3 percent) and a 9.6 percent growth in total arrivals to 633,730 visitors.
Total arrivals by air rose 9.5 percent from December 2009 to 623,728 visitors. Canadian (+16.6 percent) and U.S. East (+10.1 percent) arrivals showed double-digit growth, Japanese arrivals rose 8.6 percent, while U.S. West arrivals was up 8.4 percent from last December. Arrivals by cruise ship increased 11.5 percent to 10,002 visitors.
For calendar year 2010, total visitor days for all visitors grew 8.8 percent compared to 2009, and total arrivals rose 8.7 percent, to 7,084,525 visitors. Total arrivals also exceeded 2008 (6,822,911 visitors) levels but remained below 2007 and 2006 highs of 7.6 million visitors.
Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA, said that these results are consistent with objectives in the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Strategic Plan. "By remaining focused in our strategic direction and brand management efforts, HTA will continue to guide tourism to help lead the economic recovery for the entire state," he said in a statement. "The numbers for December represent the eighth consecutive month of double-digit increases in overall spending, and are solid indicators that tourism continues to gain momentum.
"While this is encouraging news, this follows 22 months of declining arrivals and expenditures. And we have a way to go to achieve full recovery. In 2007, visitors spent $35 million per day. In 2008 they spent $31 million, $27 million in 2009, and $31 million in 2010. HTA will use our funds strategically, efficiently, and effectively to continue Hawaii’s tourism economy recovery in 2011.
"Growth is occurring in both leisure and business travel, with December experiencing increases in the number of visitors that came to Hawaii for meetings, conventions and incentives (MCI). This, in addition to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in November, is a good indicator for the potential for increased future MCI business in Hawaii.
"Other highlights for December include the growth of arrivals by air to the neighbor islands which outpaced air arrivals to Oahu. HTA’s continued emphasis on increasing airlift, especially direct airlift to the neighbor islands, is expected to contribute to spreading visitor spending and job creation across the state.
"Clearly, we need to maintain the momentum tourism has contributed to Hawaii’s economy. Tourism accounts for $11.4 billion in spending, 150,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in tax revenue which funds state initiatives and programs. When tourism does well, Hawaii also thrives – with more jobs and opportunities for Hawaii’s people."