By Sonia Isotov
Hawaii’s tourism economy continues growing following another strong month of visitor arrivals and spending in February, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority yesterday.
Visitor spending for February 2012 contributed $1.1 billion into the state’s economy, up 8.5% over last year, bringing the year-to-date total to $2.44 billion. On Maui, visitor spending for February 2012 was up 9.5% to $306.1 million from $279.5 million a year ago.
Total visitor arrivals in February 2012 rose 5.6% to 626,367 visitors. Factoring out the extra day in February, average daily census showed that actual growth was up 2.5% over a year ago (207,298 visitors per day in February 2012); and an adjusted total visitor spending of $1.061 billion would still be 4.7% above February 2011 levels.
On Maui, total visitor arrivals rose 4.3% to 183,801 from 176,249 one year ago.
“At this pace, we are not only exceeding our year-over-year expenditures, but will surpass the peak year of 2007 and are currently ahead of the aggressive targets set for 2012,” said Mike McCartney, president and chief executive office of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, in a written statement.
“We are optimistic that the increases in airlift through the second and third quarter, coupled with the anticipated announcement of new service, are indicative that there continues to be high demand for travel to the Hawaiian islands.”
Daily visitor spending rose to $183 per person in February 2012 up from $179 per person in February 2011. The extra leap-day in February 2012 further augmented total visitor spending and arrivals.
February’s performance contributed to an 11.4% increase in visitor expenditures to $2.44 billion for the first two months of 2012; and total arrivals rose 6.7% to 1,269,983 visitors. The average daily census showed 216,787 visitors in the first two months of 2012, up 5.7% compared to the same period last year.
Among the top four visitor markets, arrivals by air from Canada rose 9.6% and the average daily census grew 11.4% from February 2011. Total Canadian visitor expenditures in February 2012 grew 8.5% to $135.2 million, continuing a trend of consecutive increases since January 2011.
Japanese arrivals by air in February 2012 rose 4.7% while average daily census increased 3.7%. Higher daily spending (+5% to $302 per person) also contributed to a 12.8% growth in total Japanese visitor expenditures to $193.5 million.
US West arrivals by air rose 3.8% but the average daily census showed a slower pace of 0.9%. Total expenditures by US West visitors rose 3.4% to $313.2 million.
Average daily census for US East visitors showed a 2.4% decrease even though arrivals by air were up 1.8% compared to February 2011. Lower daily spending (-3% to $179 per person) resulted in a 1.9% drop in total US visitors’ spending to $278.7 million.