While 2012 was a record year for Hawaii tourism, 2013 arrivals are up 5.5 percent and expenditures up 5.7 percent year-to-date, says Mike McCartney, president and CEO of Hawaii Tourism Authority.
"Our overall economy is recovering with low unemployment and a strong state budget, which is a direct result of the collective efforts of our visitor industry and good will from our community," he says.
Visitors from around the world continued to choose the Hawaiian Islands during the first seven months of 2013. So far this year, visitors spent an average of $41 million per day – $20 million on Oahu, $11 million in Maui County, $5 million on Hawaii Island and $4 million on Kauai, which supports more than 167,000 jobs and has provided $911 million in state tax revenue year-to-date.
"In order for us to maintain this momentum, it is important that we continue to invest in our destination and we are grateful for the renewed funding from the Hawai‘i State Legislature to achieve this," says McCartney. "Maintaining and increasing air access, distributing visitors across all of the Hawaiian Islands, and diversifying our market mix by increasing our meetings, conventions and incentives (MCI) business, will be priorities as we look to the second half of the year."
In the long term, McCartney contends it is important that the Hawaii Tourism Authority support the development and redevelopment of its communities to improve the infrastructure and quality of life in master planned regions, such as Ko Olina, Banyan Drive in Hilo, Wailea, Princeville and Kona.
"We anticipate continued growth for our tourism economy during the second half of the year," he says. "However, we remain cognizant and continue to monitor the fragile world economy, strengthening dollar, fluctuating fuel prices and the overall rising cost of a Hawai‘i vacation. All of these factors will influence future visitor arrivals and spending in all markets. Therefore, we must be innovative and work harder to remain price competitive, while offering a quality and authentic visitor experience that best highlights our people, place and culture."