Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

*logoTotal expenditures by visitors to Hawaii jumped 23.3% in July when compared with the same month in 2009. All told, visitors spent $1.1 billion in July, according to statistics released Aug. 31 by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Visitor arrivals were also up sharply during the month, increasing 9% year over year to a total of 680,743.

“Hawaii’s tourism economy continues to show positive gains following seven months of increased visitor arrivals and spending,” HTA CEO and President Mike McCarthy said in a statement. “Efforts to drive demand and boost short-term arrivals have resulted in visitor expenditures increasing 10.2% over 2009, to $6.4 billion, and total arrivals increasing by 9%.”

Among the state’s top four markets, the East Coast saw a 12.3% climb in arrivals during July and the West Coast was up 3.4%. Visitors from Canada increased by 10.7%, and those from Japan grew 8% year over year.

“In July, we saw gains in visitor arrivals and in visitor spending from all geographic market segments,” Marsha Wienert, Hawaii’s tourism liaison, said in a statement. “Contributing to these increases were two large groups that held conventions in Hawaii — the Baptist World Congress and the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease — which resulted in an increase of 107.6% in meeting, convention and incentive visitors from the U.S. East and an overall increase in [meetings and conventions] visitors of 57.3%.”

According to the HTA statistics, Hawaii’s accommodations also saw an increase in visitors this July: Hotels were up 11.3, bed and breakfast jumped 17% and condominium properties rose 10.7%.

However, both McCartney and Wienert were quick to add an element of caution to their analysis of the impressive July visitor figures.

“As reported by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism in its economic forecast released on Aug. 19, expected increases in visitor arrivals and expenditures will help sustain a gradual recovery for Hawaii's economy,” Wienert said. “But visitor expenditures are not expected to recover to 2007's peak until 2013.”

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