Hawaii's First Quarter Visitor Spending Up Almost 17 Percent

Total spending by visitors who came to Hawaii in the first quarter of 2011 increased 16.9 percent, compared to the first quarter of 2010, to $3.2 billion. Total visitor days for all visitors grew 10.8 percent, and total arrivals rose 9.1 percent to 1,823,870 visitors, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

All four major markets (U.S. West, U.S. East, Japan and Canada) had double-digit growth in total visitor spending in the first quarter of 2011, boosted by higher average daily spending and increased arrivals.

For the month of March 2011, total visitor spending grew 11.8 percent ($103.5 million) from March 2010, to $980.7 million. Total arrivals rose 4.2 percent to 633,365 visitors.  The average daily spending by all visitors in March 2011 was $167 per person, up from $162 per person in March 2010.  

Total arrivals by air in March 2011 rose 3.1 percent to 615,553 visitors. Arrivals from Canada climbed 34.7 percent from March 2010.  Arrivals from U.S. West (+3.4 percent) and U.S. East (+7.2 percent) also increased compared to a year ago.

Notably, arrivals from Japan dropped 17.9 percent compared to last March, due to flight suspensions and trip cancellations following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11.  Prior to this, visitor arrivals from Japan had increased nine out of the last 10 months (since May 2010).

Arrivals by cruise ships in March 2011 grew 65.8 percent to 17,812 visitors compared to the same month last year.

Additional Total Air Visitor Highlights:

·         Total arrivals from the U.S. mainland were up over March 2010, despite not having as many visitors who came for spring break.  The full effect of the 2011 spring break period will not be realized until April, when the majority of the California public schools and colleges scheduled their spring break.

·         The total number of visitors who came for meetings, conventions and incentives (MCI) in March 2011 rose 63.2 percent, with strong increases from U.S. West, U.S. East and Canadian visitors (see Meetings, Conventions, Incentive Visitor Highlights, page 6).

·         Condominium properties saw an 11.5 percent growth in total visitors compared to March 2010, with increases from Canada (+42.7 percent) and U.S. East (+12.6 percent).

·         Total visitor arrivals to all neighbor islands increased, while total arrivals to O‘ahu remained unchanged compared to March 2010.

Mike McCartney, President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said that he is "pleased with the momentum" in the growth. "As our state gets closer to hosting the 2011 APEC Leaders’ Meeting in November, we believe this segment will continue to experience growth and bolster Hawaii’s unique offering as a premier global meetings destination," he added. 
"As expected, Hawaii saw a decline in arrivals from Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11. To make up for the anticipated loss, the HTA and Hawaii’s visitor industry quickly put into place a recovery plan to harness business from other MMAs. Based on the overall positive month, our strategy to leverage opportunities from Hawaii’s multiple MMAs has contributed to stabilizing Hawaii’s tourism economy and preserving jobs.
"We also look forward to a strong April and May due to spring break, the Easter holiday and scheduled charter flights from Japan for Golden Week. The HTA will remain focused on our strategic direction and will continue to monitor the Japan market as well as other global conditions, such as the rise in oil prices which will have an effect on our state’s economic recovery.
"Following the earthquake and tsunami, we are most proud of the aloha shown by the people of Hawaii to our friends in Japan.  As we move past the 48th day following the devastating tragedy, we stand in support of their country’s unwavering strength and resiliency.  Over time, we look forward to their country’s resurgence and the people of Japan returning to Hawaii – their home away from home – for renewal and rejuvenation."

Read more on: