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January 2012 Visitor Spending Breaks Record

February 24, 2012, 12:36 PM HST · Updated February 24, 3:48 PM
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front street lahaina

Front Street. Courtesy of HVCB.

By Sonia Isotov

Total expenditures by visitors to Hawaii in January 2012 reached $1.345 billion, the best one-month total on record, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Total visitor spending by visitors who came to Hawai‘i in January 2012 rose 13.9% (or $164.1 million) from January 2011, to $1.345 billion. This total surpasses the December 2011 high of $1.298 billion.

“A strong holiday season, combined with pent up demand for travel to the Hawaiian islands, increases in airlift and a large delegation of convention attendees were all contributing factors to the increases seen in January,” said Mike McCartney, president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

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On Maui, January 2012 visitor spending reached $366.50 or a 13.2% increase over January 2011.

Statewide, contributing to the strong increase in January 2012 was higher daily spending ($192 per person, up from $183 per person in January 2011) and a respectable 7.7% growth in total arrivals to 643,616 visitors.

Japanese tourists enjoy a day on Maui. Courtesy of HVCB.

Total arrivals by air grew 7.4% from January 2011 to 629,852 visitors with increases from US West (+3.3%), US East (+4.1%), Japan (+3.9%) and Canada (+9%).  On a typical day in January 2012 there were 223,452 visitors (average daily census).  The last time this rate was exceeded was in July 2005.  Arrivals by cruise ships rose 22.7% to 13,764 visitors.

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Continuing the momentum of consecutive increases since January 2011, total spending by Canadian visitors in January 2012 rose 22.3% to $165.2 million.

Total expenditures by US West visitors grew 2.6% to $364.1 million, despite lower daily spending compared to January 2011 (-2.3% to $146.4 per person).  Similarly, US East visitors’ total expenditures rose 1.5% to $346.7 million, while daily spending decreased (-1.5% to $183 per person).

Growth in arrivals, additional charter air service and significantly higher daily spending (+18% to $340 per person) contributed to a 22.9% jump in total Japanese visitor expenditures to $218.5 million in January 2012.  This was the eighth consecutive month of increases since June 2011.

Most types of accommodations experienced heavier visitor traffic in January 2012, especially hotel properties (+10.4%).  More Canadian (+11%) and US East (+6.3%) visitors stayed in hotels compared to January 2011. Significantly more Japanese visitors stayed in timeshare properties (+17.4%) compared to last January.

The HTA’s visitor statistics can also be found on the HTA website at http://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/research.

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