HONOLULU -- The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau reported
that September was the "first solid growth month" for the state's
tourism since April. A total of 553,730 visitors came to the
islands, a 4.8% increase over September last year. U.S. mainland
visitors, totaling 246,460, increased 6.9%; eastbound visitors,
mostly from Japan, totaled 256,500, up 5.9%.
However, the September gain was not enough to offset the loss
for the year. For the first nine months, Hawaii drew 5,209,340
visitors, an 0.4% decline from the period last year, with mainland
arrivals up 1.2% and eastbound down 0.7%.
"September's results come as a welcome bright spot after four
lackluster months," said Tony Vericella, HVCB president and chief
executive officer. However, he added, the figures show a continued
decline in first-time visitors, down 2.5% in September, and down
2.2% for the nine months.