By Sonia Isotov
“Continued growth in visitor spending is a strong indication that Hawaii’s tourism economy is improving,” said Mike McCartney, the president and chief and executive officer of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), in a written statement today.
For the state, visitor spending rose 15.1% to $11.3 billion during the first 11 months of 2011. On Maui, visitor spending rose 12.9% to $249.5 million during the same 11 month period.
Statewide, total visitor days for all visitors rose 4.9% and total arrivals remained ahead (+3.4%) of last year at 6,600,776 visitors, according to preliminary statistics released today by the HTA. On Maui, total visitor days for all visitors rose 4% and total arrivals remained ahead (+4.2%) as well. The HTA expects to end this year with year-over-year growth in visitor expenditures.
Total arrivals in November 2011 rose 2.6% compared to last November to 566,672 visitors, and Maui received 165,239 visitors compared to 162,153 visitors last November, or a 1.9% increase.
For the month of November 2011 alone, total visitor spending grew 8.2% (up $73.5 million) from November 2010 to $972.5 million, while visitor arrivals were up 2.6% from a year ago. Total spending by all visitors has risen every month since May 2010. Higher daily spending ($186 per person, up from $179 per person in November 2010) contributed to the growth in total visitor expenditures.
“The HTA’s focus on Asia and emerging markets is paying off with growth in visitor spending and arrivals from Asia, including Korea, China and Japan. In November, air seat capacity from Japan increased 10.5% due to increased service and an additional 5,796 charter seats to Hawai’i. The average daily spending from Japanese visitors also increased, resulting in a 20% growth in visitor expenditures,” added McCartney.
Total arrivals by air only in November 2011 increased 3.6% to 555,630 visitors. Japanese arrivals grew 4.7%, the third consecutive month of increases. Arrivals from Canada (+5.1%), US West (+0.6%) and US East (+2.0%) were also higher compared to November 2010. Arrivals by cruise ships fell 32% from November 2010 to 11,042 visitors.
For the first 11 months of 2011, total expenditures by Canadian visitors rose 26.5%, supported by strong growth in arrivals (+18.8%) and higher average daily spending. Total expenditures by US West (+6.9%) and US East (+9.5%) visitors continued to increase while US West (+1.9%) and US East (+2.0%) arrivals remained above year-to-date 2010. Total Japanese visitor expenditures increased 8.1%, even though arrivals were lower (-5.4%) than the first 11 months of 2010.
“The growth from these markets are helping to offset the drop in spending from the US West and US East that may be attributed to an increase in prices, as well as a recovering US economy,” explained McCartney.
November was also the month of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Week (APEC) which the HTA used to promote Hawai’i as a global meetings destination and highlight the Hawaiian Islands’ centralized location in the Asia-Pacific region. McCartney said, “As anticipated, overall arrivals during November showed modest growth compared to 2010, but the recent increases in arrivals and spending from Japan and other Asia are also indicators of the significance of the Asia-Pacific region and the potential long-term impact that APEC will have on our community.”
“It is also important to note that the visitor data for November 2011 does not include APEC attendees who arrived via private planes or government transportation that is not captured by our research, as well as ancillary business spending that includes security expenses, equipment rental fees, meeting rooms, private parties and other expenses,” said McCartney.
“As we head into 2012, we anticipate seeing an increased shift of our visitor profile with a growing number of visitor arrivals from the Asia-Pacific region. With new flights by Air Australia and Asiana Airlines, as well as increased service by Hawaiian Airlines to South Korea, we see potential to capitalize on opportunities and will continue developing these markets while building on recent gains that will help to provide jobs and stimulate our state’s economy.”