October 1, 2010 – Honolulu, Hawaii
By Stephanie Salazar
Visitor spending in August was up by 30-percent compared to the same month last year. The Hawaii Tourism Authority said in August alone visitors spent $1.1 billion dollars, bringing the total for the first eight months of 2010 to $7.5 billion; up almost 13-percent for the same period last year.
August visitors spend an average $172 per person, and the total arrivals by air was also up 11 percent compared to last year.
Where are they coming from? We saw hikes in visitor counts from Canada, both the East and West Coasts of the United States, and Japan.
Lieutenant Governor (and gubernatorial candidate) James Duke Aiona said the visitor numbers are an encouraging sign for Hawaii’s economy – indicating that arrivals are stabilizing and visitor spending is trending upward. Aiona points to the Lingle administration’s work to get more people from South Korea and China… predicting South Korea visitor arrivals will nearly double this year compared to last because of increased airline seats and visa waiver status. Hawaiian Airlines’ flights from Korea begin next year.
Hawai’i’s tourism economy has continued to see positive gains in visitor spending and arrivals through August. We had a good summer season with monthly visitor spending exceeding $1 billion in July and August, making it the first time since 2008 that spending has topped the $1 billion mark. While the numbers are trending forward, we cannot become complacent and will continue to focus on aggressively implementing the HTA Strategic Plan and work closely with Hawai’i’s visitor industry to drive demand to our islands. One of the highlights in August is heavier traffic and spending on Hawai’i Island, Kaua’i, Maui, and Lana’i. This month, visitors spent $35 million per day in Hawai’i. Tourism continues to be the largest single source of revenue generated by export for Hawai’i and is our largest employing industry, supporting more than 150,000 jobs for residents. HTA, along with our industry partners, will continue to work on increasing distribution to the neighbor islands by focusing on direct flight access and highlighting the unique experiences each of the islands have to offer through our North American marketing blitzes, our international marketing partners, and incentive efforts emphasizing pre- and post- event visits to the neighbor islands.
The Baptist World Congress, held July 27-Aug. 3, helped boost the total number of visitors here for conventions, meetings and incentives (CMI) with a 23.5 percent increase from a year ago. HTA continues to focus on targeting short-term bookings in the CMI market and remains aggressive in marketing Hawai’i as a global meeting destination. Interest in our state as a prime destination for CMI meetings will continue to build as we prepare to host the 2011 APEC Leaders Meeting. This fall, we anticipate continued growth in arrivals and spending over last year.
Some of the factors that will contribute to the upturn will be our CMI business, Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) and Canada’s peak travel season, the startup of service from Haneda, new direct flights from the Pacific Northwest, and the continued impact from our North American marketing blitzes. Working in partnership with our visitor industry will be the key to our success and will contribute to the greater good of all Hawai’i. As the world becomes more competitive, we as stakeholders must also become more collaborative. This collaboration is our true competitive advantage as a destination, and is key to improving and strengthening Hawai’i’s tourism economy.
Mike McCartney, President and CEO
Hawai’i Tourism Authority