On the heels of the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s release of its visitor-arrivals and spending numbers, President and CEO Mike McCartney spoke about what the numbers mean, and what Hawaii needs to remain a prime destination for travelers.
“We are most pleased to see more than 30 percent growth in visitor spending,” McCartney said. “This is good news for the entire state and especially our Neighbor Island communities which are heavily dependent upon tourism.
“It is also important to note that our rate of recovery is well ahead of other competitive destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean,” he continued. “However, an analysis by Hawaii Tourism Authority research staff shows that Hawaii is only beginning to see signs of recovery, and we still have a long way to go to offset the declines over the last two years.
“This means that, more than ever, we need to continue our focused marketing efforts to maintain the momentum we’ve achieved in boosting arrivals and increasing visitor spending.
“This includes creating demand to recapture air seats lost after the end of service by ATA and Aloha Airlines, as well as increasing direct service to Oahu and the Neighbor Islands. In 2010, these efforts have contributed to increases in new air service from the U.S. Mainland, Canada and Korea. Maui and Hawaii Island also experienced the greatest gains in additional air seats, including the resumption of direct service from the U.S. Mainland to Hilo starting in June 2011.
“These efforts have contributed to Hawaii experiencing year-over-year growth in visitor arrivals each month in 2010. And our projections show that we should exceed our annual target for arrivals by a comfortable margin at the end of the year.
“Heading into 2011, we anticipate Hawaii continuing to reap the benefits of the collective HTA and industry efforts to rebuild tourism and strengthen the state’s overall economy. HTA’s contractor for the North American market, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, along with our industry partners, will be launching comprehensive efforts in key geographic markets during the first quarter of 2011. These efforts are expected to continue to drive bookings and bring visitors and their spending to Hawaii throughout the year.”