2010 Visitor Data Shows Hawai‘i Tourism Definitely in Recovery

January 26, 2011, 10:39 AM HST · Updated January 29, 2:13 AM
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By Sonia Isotov

Continued emphasis on increasing airlift, especially direct airlift to the neighbor islands, is expected to contribute to visitor spending and job creation. Four Seasons Wailea Resort, photo by W.Osher.

According to the latest numbers released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority today, tourism showed a strong level of recovery in 2010, attracting more than 7 million visitors and $11.4 billion in visitor spending.

The numbers for December represent the eighth consecutive month of double-digit increases in overall spending, and are solid indicators that tourism continues to gain momentum.

“While this is encouraging news, this follows 22 months of declining arrivals and expenditures. and we have a way to go to achieve full recovery,” said Mike McCartney, President & CEO, Hawaii Tourism Authority.

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“In 2007, visitors spent $35 million per day. In 2008 they spent $31 million, $27 million in 2009, and $31 million in 2010. HTA will use our funds strategically, efficiently, and effectively to continue Hawaii’s tourism economy recovery in 2011. “

Growth is occurring in both leisure and business travel, with December experiencing increases in the number of visitors that came to Hawai‘i for meetings, conventions and incentives (MCI).

This, in addition to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in November, is a good indicator for the potential for increased future MCI business in Hawai‘i.

Other highlights for December include the growth of arrivals by air to the neighbor islands which outpaced air arrivals to Oahu.

HTA’s continued emphasis on increasing airlift, especially direct airlift to the neighbor islands, is expected to contribute to spreading visitor spending and job creation across the state.

“Clearly, we need to maintain the momentum tourism has contributed to Hawai‘i’s economy. Tourism accounts for $11.4 billion in spending, 150,000 jobs and $1.1 billion in tax revenue which funds state initiatives and programs. When tourism does well, Hawai‘i also thrives – with more jobs and opportunities for Hawai‘i’s people,” said Mike McCartney, President & CEO, Hawaii Tourism Authority.

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