November visitor spending up 30 percent - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

November visitor spending up 30 percent

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii has closed the books on November with a welcome bottom line: 560,540 visitors, up 16 percent, spending $960 million, up 30 percent.

The state government report Tuesday came on the heels of Hospitality Advisors' wrap-up report on Hawaii's hotel industry, which collectively reported 15 percent higher November revenue per available room than in the same month last year.

Visitor spending rose much more than room rates, suggesting that spending extended beyond hotels to attractions, restaurants and shopping. Visitors staying in condos rather than hotels were up 21 percent with even bigger gains from Canada and Japan.

The number of Japanese visitors staying in timeshares was up 95 percent.

"Our rate of recovery is well ahead of other competitive destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean," said Mike McCartney, CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

A few good months do not, however, regain the peak levels of 2007. "We still have a long way to go to offset the declines over the last two years," McCartney said.

November got a boost from an industry which has of late played a minor role in Hawaii tourism: the month saw 16,952 cruise visitors, up 43.5 percent from November 2009.

The biggest factor was 23 percent more visitors from U.S. West cities. Visitor traffic was up 25 percent from California and 24 percent from both Oregon and Washington state.

Japanese traffic was up only 3 percent. Canadian traffic rose 28 percent but represents smaller raw numbers than the other major visitor groups. U.S. East traffic rose 18 percent.

Neighbor islands, especially Maui, benefited from more visitors flying directly to islands other than Oahu for their entire stays rather than making brief side trips while mostly staying in Waikiki.

Visitor spending was up 14 percent to 19 percent from island to island, but up 33.5 percent to Molokai, to a total of $23 million.

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