Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

InsightHawaii welcomed 668,193 visitors in July, a drop of 1.9% from the same period in 2010 and the second month in row that visitor totals have declined year over year statewide.

Visitor expenditures, however, increased by $55.8 million across the Islands in July, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority Aug. 24. Spending during the month climbed 5.2% from July of last year to a grand total of $1.1 billion.

“Through the first seven months of the year, increased airlift to our neighbor islands has better distributed visitor arrivals and expenditures across the state, reaching $7.2 billion in total, built on an increase in average length of stay and per person, per day spending,” Mike McCartney, the HTA president and CEO, said in a statement.

“Hawaii’s tourism economy continues to fare well despite global economic uncertainty, with an increase in arrivals and visitors who are staying longer and spending more than they did in 2010,” McCartney added.

Year to date through July, total expenditures across the destination jumped 16.1% over the same period in 2010 while arrivals increased 3.6%, to a total of 4.2 million. Total visitor days grew 5.3%, and average daily spending was up 10.3% year over year, to $177.50.

July arrivals were down in three of Hawaii’s four largest source markets. Canada was the only bright spot, surging 28.6% year over year. Visitors from the U.S. East fell 6%, while arrivals from the U.S. West were off 1%. Arrivals from Japan sank 9.2%.

Although the number of visitors who traveled to the destination for meetings, conventions and incentives trips fell 24.4% in July, MCI business to Hawaii was up more than 31% from last year through the first seven months of 2011.

“We anticipate continued growth through the fourth quarter and into 2012,” McCartney said, referring directly to new service between Shanghai and Honolulu on China Eastern Airlines and Strategic Airlines’ new nonstop Oahu flights from Brisbane and Melbourne. “With continued interest in new routes to Hawaii, the HTA is working with airlines to maintain and grow airlift to our islands to meet demand.”
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