Hawaii visitor numbers finish ahead

HONOLULU -- A year-end boost from the Honolulu Marathon helped Hawaii's visitor totals to rise to 6.4 million last year.

That's a slight improvement -- 0.9% -- over 2001, but still short of the peak of 7 million in 2000.

Domestic arrivals in 2002 rose 2.7% over last year, according to preliminary figures from the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

More significantly, domestic tourists stayed longer and accounted for a 2.8% increase in visitor days compared with 2001.

International arrivals and visitor days continued to fall short as they were 2.9% and 3.6%, respectively, below 2001 levels.

Overall, visitors spent an average of 9.34 days in Hawaii last year. Through November, visitor expenditures totaled $9.2 billion, up 2.8% over 2001.

Beginning in February, the DBEDT will work with the marketing arm of the Hawaii Tourism Authority to break down visitor data by month, island and major market area to more accurately assess marketing decisions, according to Frank Haas, HTA's director of tourism marketing.

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