Strong growth continues in visitor spending and arrivals

HONOLULU - Total expenditures by visitors who came to Hawai'i in February 2012 rose 8.5 percent (or $85.7 million) to $1.099 billion, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday by the Hawai'i Tourism Authority.

Higher daily visitor spending ($183 per person, up from $179 per person in February 2011) contributed to this increase. The extra leap-day in February 2012 further augmented total visitor spending and arrivals.

Total arrivals in February 2012 rose 5.6 percent to 626,367 visitors. Factoring out the extra day, average daily census* showed that actual growth was up 2.5 percent over a year ago (207,298 visitors per day in February 2012); and an adjusted total visitor spending of $1.061† billion would still be 4.7 percent above February 2011 levels.

February's performance contributed to an 11.4 percent increase in visitor expenditures to $2.44 billion for the first two months of 2012; and total arrivals rose 6.7 percent to 1,269,983 visitors. The average daily census showed 216,787 visitors in the first two months of 2012, up 5.7 percent compared to the same period last year.

Among the top four visitor markets, arrivals by air from Canada rose 9.6 percent and the average daily census grew 11.4 percent from February 2011. Total Canadian visitor expenditures in February 2012 grew 8.5 percent to $135.2 million, continuing a trend of consecutive increases since January 2011.

Japanese arrivals by air in February 2012 rose 4.7 percent while average daily census increased 3.7 percent. Higher daily spending (+5% to $302 per person) also contributed to a 12.8 percent growth in total Japanese visitor expenditures to $193.5 million.

U.S. West arrivals by air rose 3.8 percent but the average daily census showed a slower pace of 0.9 percent. Total expenditures by U.S. West visitors rose 3.4 percent to $313.2 million.

Average daily census for U.S. East visitors showed a 2.4 percent decrease even though arrivals by air were up 1.8 percent compared to February 2011.

Lower daily spending (-3% to $179 per person) resulted in a 1.9 percent drop in total U.S. visitors' spending to $278.7 million.

Statement from Mike McCartney, president and CEO Hawai'i Tourism Authority

Hawai'i's tourism economy continues to grow following another strong month of visitor arrivals and spending. Visitor spending for February 2012 contributed $1.1 billion into the state's economy, up 8.5 percent over last year, bringing the year-to-date total to $2.44 billion. At this pace, we are not only exceeding our year-over-year expenditures, but will surpass the peak year of 2007 and are currently ahead of the aggressive targets set for 2012.

The Hawai'i Tourism Authority (HTA), will remain vigilant and continue to monitor the rising fuel prices and how it may affect people's decision to travel this year. However, we are optimistic that the increases in airlift through the second and third quarter, coupled with the anticipated announcement of new service, are indicative that there continues to be high demand for travel to the Hawaiian Islands.

The HTA will continue to work with our various partners to provide a unique Hawai'i experience, while increasing awareness and driving demand that will help us continue this trend for a successful 2012. 

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