UPDATED: Hawaii visitor spending up in September - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

UPDATED: Hawaii visitor spending up in September

By Ian Scheuring

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – After six months of decline, the number of visitors to Hawaii from Japan, along with the amount of money those visitors are spending, increased in September, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Officials believe that the 0.8% increase, according to statistics released Tuesday, is cause for hope. Word of the increase came more than six months after the March 11 earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, and HTA president and CEO Mike McCartney says he is "hopeful that the uptick in arrivals is a sign of recovery of the Japan market."

"We anticipate this momentum to continue through the fourth quarter of 2011 and into 2012, with increase in airlift out of Japan, Canada, Korea and Australia through new and established airlines," McCartney said. McCartney added that the tourism industry in Hawaii will likely reach 2011targets of $12.6 billion in visitor spending and 7.5 million visitor arrivals.

Spending by visitors from Japan also increased last month, jumping 19.7% to more than $1 billion from the same month a year ago. Average daily spending was $199 per person, up from $176 per person in September 2010.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie said that he believes the positive visitor trends will continue.

"This recent visitor report is a reminder of the value that Hawai'i has as a tourist destination," Governor Abercrombie said. "As our visitor numbers increase, we will begin to see a ripple effect in economic growth across the state."

Abercrombie also said that he was "confident that APEC will add to this momentum, because it will be our moment to showcase to the world our Aloha spirit and the beauty of our island people."

Arrivals from to Hawaii from Canada also increased 24%, marking the 15th consecutive month of double-digit growth. Arrivals from the U.S. mainland increased, ending three months of declines.

Total arrivals to the state were up 4% to 560,707 visitors.

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