Total expenditures by visitors who came to Hawaii in March 2012 rose 18.9 percent (or $185.8 million) to $1.17 billion, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. This marked the 22nd consecutive month of year-over-year growth in total visitor expenditures since May 2010. A 12.9 percent growth in total visitor arrivals to 714,973 visitors and an increase of 6.2 percent in daily visitor spending ($177 per person per day) contributed to this gain.
Among the top four visitor markets, arrivals by air from U.S. West grew 11.4 percent compared to March 2011 to 264,956 visitors. Total U.S. West visitor expenditures in March 2012 rose 16.9 percent to $364 million, the seventh consecutive month of growth since September 2011.
U.S. East arrivals by air grew 2.2 percent to 162,931 visitors. However, lower daily spending (-1.9% to $167 per person) resulted in a 0.7 percent drop in U.S. East spending to $261 million. Canadian arrivals rose 6.6 percent to 72,882 visitors, while total spending by Canadian visitors increased 8.3 percent to $134.1 million, and continued a trend of successive growth since January 2011.
Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, noted growth potential for the neighbor islands, which he acknowledged have seen lower hotel occupancy.
“Looking ahead, we anticipate some flattening in arrivals from the U.S. in April. While May is typically slower month for travel to the Hawaiian Islands, our support of festivals and events like Mele Mei draw visitors during these shoulder periods.” The HTA is optimistic for a robust second half of the quarter, he added, with new flights beginning from New York, Washington D.C., Fresno and Las Vegas and the start of increased seasonal summer travel in June.