Fewer tourists, but bigger spenders, in Hawaii
Air arrivals to the islands form the U.S. mainland fell for the third straight month in August, according to Hawaii Tourism Authority, although tourist spending is up.
Northwest Travel Guides
HONOLULU — Hawaii's tourism industry has seen a pattern in recent months of lower visitor arrivals but higher spending by those who travel to the islands.
Air arrivals to the islands form the U.S. mainland fell for the third straight month in August, according to Hawaii Tourism Authority monthly statistics released Thursday.
Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island all saw decreases in visitor arrivals. Statewide, total arrivals declined 4.2 percent.
Yet, overall spending grew by 2.3 percent to $1.07 billion in August, compared with the same time last year.
While Oahu and Kauai saw increases in spending, Maui saw a decline of 4.8 percent to $248.1 million and the Big Island saw a 19.4 percent decline to $105.8 million from a year ago.
Contributing to the spending increase in some places was the advantageous monetary exchange rate for markets such as Japan and Canada, said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the tourism authority.
The authority's statistics show continued strength from Canadian visitors. Last month, arrivals from Canada rose 15.7 percent, the 14th consecutive month of double-digit growth. The increases from Canada contributed to a 2.7 percent increase in international honeymooners, the authority said.
Arrivals from Japan, a major departure point for visitors to the islands, showed the smallest decrease in four months — 2.6 percent lower compared to August 2010.
August was the fifth consecutive month of double-digit declines in visitors who went on group tours. There was a 13.1 percent drop in total group tour activities last month.
For the first eight months of the year, total spending rose 14.1 percent to $8.25 billion, compared to the same period last year. There were also 2.5 percent more arrivals, and visitors stayed for more days than last year.
McCartney said he's confident projected increases for the remainder of the year will help achieve 2011 targets.
"Most of this optimism is due to the anticipated increases in airlift from key markets such as Korea, Japan, China and Australia," he said. "And we fully expect this growth in airlift to continue well into 2012."
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