Hawaii tourism has been on the upswing in the first quarter of 2013, with visitor spending surpassing last year’s record breaking numbers. This year, $279 million poured into Hawaii’s tourism economy, contributing $29 million in state tax revenue. Every day, an average of $44 million was spent in the state from January through March: $21 million on O‘ahu, $12 million in Maui County, $6 million on Hawaii Island and $4 million on Kaua‘i. Preliminary statistics released on April 25, 2013 by the Hawaii Tourism Authority show that the total spending by visitors of Hawaii in March of 2013 alone was $1.3 billion. This expenditure is a 7.8 percent (or $91.8 million) increase from March 2012. Contributing to this increase was a 7.6 percent growth in total arrivals, as well as higher daily spending, which offset a shorter length of stay. The United States, Japan, Canada, and cruise ships were among Hawai‘i’s top visitor markets.
Mike McCartney, President and CEO of Hawaii Tourism Authority is happy with the results, but realistic about the future, and predicts more moderate growth in the upcoming months. While the number of visitors and amount that they spend has been increasing, the average duration of stay has seen a decrease. McCartney thinks this “could be an indication that visitors may be reaching their spending threshold. Furthermore, the reduction of service from the U.S. East and U.S. West and the weakening Japanese yen could also have an effect on arrivals and spending this year.”
Tourism is the state of Hawaii’s number one industry, and supports more than 166,000 jobs for Hawaiian residents. As a result, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) will continue to work with its global marketing contractors and industry partners in order to stimulate commerce and monitor and sustain smart growth. HTA will focus its efforts on enhancing meetings, conventions and incentive business and distributing visitors across all of the Hawaiian Islands particularly during off-peak seasons. Additionally, to help maintain Hawaii’s competitive edge, HTA will keep up its efforts in North American and Japanese markets, while also growing and supporting airlift from other markets like Oceania, Korea, China and Taiwan.
Other highlights of the recently released March statistics include a break-down of the number of visitors and the amounts spent on each Island, air seat statistics, and information about the visitors from cruise ships.