Maui Business

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.

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.

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

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