Hawaii visitor spending tops $8 billion

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Hawaii visitor spending reached $8.4 billion by the end of September, and has lately been running one fifth higher than in 2009.

September saw, compared to last year, 9% more visitors, 10% more visitor days, and 22% more visitor spending, totaling $880 million for the one month, according to an accounting by the state released Thursday.

Hawaii got 13% more visitors than last year from Canada and the U.S. West. Japan and U.S. East sent almost the same number of visitors as last year but they stayed longer for a net gain in visitor days.

"Strengthening Hawaii's tourism economy remains our top priority," said Mike McCartney, CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. "We will continue to collaborate with our industry partners to aggressively market Hawaii."

Kauai got more Canadians, the Big Island got more visitors from Japan, and Maui especially saw significantly more visitors than it had during the recession.

"It's particularly significant that the neighbor islands are experiencing improvements in visitor arrivals and visitor spending," said Marsha Weinert, tourism liaison to Gov. Linda Lingle. "Increased airseats into these islands have helped to bring more visitors from the mainland."

September saw 40% more wedding visitors than last year including twice as many from Japan, and traffic was also up significantly for people coming here to honeymoon. Visitors coming from U.S. East on government or military business was up from last year by more than half.

The month saw bumps in visitor spending from a dental convention and the USC game.

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