Hawaii Reports 3.6% Increase in Visitor Arrivals

HONOLULU -- Hawaii received 6.82 million visitors last year, a 3.6% increase compared with 1995.

However, the total number of visitor days increased only by 1.3% because of shorter stays, according to the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.

"We made some progress in 1996, attracting more visitors from Japan than ever, and more from Canada than we've had in 10 years," said HCVB president Paul Casey.

These gains, he said, were due in large part to additional airline service.

"Unfortunately, the eastbound surge lost its strength toward the end of the year," he said, adding that total arrivals in November and December were down.

With economic uncertainty in Japan and a weaker yen, the HVCB forecasts a no-growth year for Japanese arrivals and no-growth for the mainland market.

Arrival figures follow:

* Visitors from the U.S. mainland totaled 3.27 million, an increase of 1.6% as compared with 1995.

* Eastbound visitors, from Asia and the Pacific, dominated by the Japanese, totaled 2.83 million, up 6.8%.

The HVCB estimated that Japanese arrivals totaled more than 2.1 million, passing the 2 million mark for the first time.

* Visitors from Canada totaled 276,520, an increase of 12.4%.

* Arrivals from Europe totaled 207,640, a decline of 2.2%.

* California, the largest single mainland market, with 1.25 million visitors, was up 2.5%.

The bureau said the Big Island outshone the other major islands in tourism growth for December and for the year, aided by new nonstop service from Tokyo and additional service from the West Coast.

Individual major island visitor counts for 1996 were:

Oahu, 4.98 million, up 3.1%; Kauai, 969,140, up 5.9%; Maui, 2.27 million, up 0.8%, and the Big Island, 1.23 million, up 13.3%.

Of the smaller islands, Molokai had 77,790 visitors, down 9.4%, and Lanai, 95,450, up 2.7%.

Hawaii's visitors stayed an average of 8.52 days last year, down 2.1% from 1995.

Eastbound visitors stayed an average of 5.78 days, down 4.9% from 1995.

Westbound visitors' average stay was almost 10.47 days, down 0.2% from 1995.

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