The year 2009 ended with positive indicators for the travel to Hawaii in the New Year. In spite of the H1N1 epidemic and its resulting effect on travel, coupled with the severity of the global recession, the Hawaii Tourism Authority announced in a statement that it is "encouraged that the year-end visitor data for 2009 was in line with HTA’s projections used to set and develop its programs and strategies."
While calendar year 2009 overall arrivals and spending were down from 2008, the Authority says that it is seeing "positive trends" going into this year, including the increase in arrivals for the past seven of eight months from the West Coast and some increases from Japan; "areas which have been a strong focus of our marketing efforts to generate visitor arrivals in the short-term.
"To make up for the U.S. East market that we anticipated would be down in 2009, our short-term strategy focused on impacting the U.S. West and Asia markets with marketing blitzes and airline access programs. As a result, HTA was able to maintain air seats from the high-spending Japan market, and we will recapture most of the seat inventory lost with the closures of Aloha and ATA airlines. In 2010, Hawaii will have a total of 580,000 air seats from new routes from all markets, the majority of which are from North America."
Other encouraging news came from the Korea market, which was up 44.2 percent over 2008 despite the H1N1 epidemic that affected arrival numbers from Asia, especially from Japan, in the beginning of the year.