July was a $1 billion month for Hawaii tourism

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii officials have known for weeks that July was a very strong month for tourism, because daily arrivals were up smartly from last summer, but financial data released Tuesday showed spending outpacing even arrivals.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority counted 680,743, up a welcome 9% from July 2009, but said their combined spending topped $1.1 billion, an increase of 23.3% from year-before levels.

"We are pleased that Hawaii's healthy summer travel season continued in July and is expected to continue through August," said Marsha Wienert, the governor's tourism liaison. "July marked the eighth month of positive growth in visitor arrivals, which is welcome news to everyone."

Visitor traffic, after dialing out returning locals who are included in earlier arrivals estimates, was up 3.4% from U.S. West, up 8% from Japan, up 10.7% from Canada, and up 12.3% from U.S. East. State statisticians treat anything east of the Rockies as U.S. East, and Texas was a major source of the added traffic.

Maui County has been getting a lot more Canadian visitors. Japanese visitors have been more prevalent this summer on Kauai and the Big Island.

"We are optimistic that the strength of the yen, combined with the stabilization of seat inventory with new direct flights from ANA, Delta and Hawaiian offsetting the loss of Japan Airlines' flight from Narita to Kona, will create new opportunities to further revitalize this market," said Mike McCartney, president of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Two summers ago it took 115 yen to buy a dollar. This summer it has been closer to 85 most weeks. A strong yen hurts Japanese companies converting dollar revenues into yen profits, but Hawaii benefits from visitors who can afford to spend more.

The July report shows flat visitor spending on Kauai but higher spending everywhere else including Molokai and Lanai. Cruise traffic was flat, but there was a substantial increase in convention traffic as Baptists and Alzheimer's researcher held large conferences on Oahu.

More than 20,000 people visited July in connection with the Rimpac military exercises.

Photo source: Dwain Hansen via Connect Now

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