HTA: Tourists spending more in Hawaii - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

HTA: Tourists spending more in Hawaii

Mike McCartney, President and CEO Hawaii Tourism Authority Mike McCartney, President and CEO Hawaii Tourism Authority

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Despite the disaster in Japan and the weak mainland economy, nearly three million people visited Hawaii this year.

So far, visitors have spent $5 billion.

A big factor was a 70-percent increase in meetings and conventions over the last year.

The weak dollar and strong yet also helped. Even though fewer Japanese came to Hawaii, those that did spent more.

For the month of May, total visitor spending grew almost 6 percent to $912 million from May of last year, representing the 13th consecutive month of increased visitor spending.

Arrivals by air in May 2011 were basically unchanged up 0.3 percent compared to May 2010. Arrivals from Canada grew 19 percent helping to offset minimal gains and drops from other markets.

Arrivals by cruise ships in May 2011 rose 69 percent to 4,646 visitors.

"It looks like tourism is back on track so we look for a good second half of the year. And the second half should be good so we're happy," Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney said. "The first half of the year was challenging because of the situation in Japan, but if you look at the numbers we did pretty well."

The rest of the year promises to be even better with the APEC meetings and new flights to Asia including a direct flight from Honolulu to Shanghai.

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