Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

Insight logoVisitor spending and arrivals were up across Hawaii in January, according to a Hawaii Tourism Authority report released Feb. 26, and the news was particularly well received by the long-suffering visitor industries on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.

"We are extremely excited that Maui, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii saw both increases in arrivals and spending in January," Marsha Wienert, state tourism liaison, said in a statement. "This is the second consecutive month of increases for Kauai and the Big Island, and while the last time Maui had an increase in arrivals was September 2009, visitor spending has not been up on the island since November 2007."

The Big Island saw the largest percentage increase in expenditures by visitors during January, as spending there jumped 15.3% from the same month last year, to $144.8 million. Maui visitors spent a total $267.5 million this January, up 5.7% from 2009, while those on Kauai spent a total of $99 million, up .8%.

January's gains, coupled with those from December, marked the first time since the April 2008 departures of ATA and Aloha Airlines that Hawaii has recorded back-to-back monthly increases in visitor spending.

"The additional $33.5 million in visitor spending in January on top of the $5 million additional spending in December last year is positive news to many Hawaii businesses and the visitor industry overall," Wienert said. "The rise in spending resulted from an increase in visitor arrivals and per-person, per-day spending by visitors from the U.S. West, Hawaii's largest market segment. Expenditures by U.S. West visitors grew to $315 million, an increase of 8.5% for the month compared to January last year."

A total of 532,737 visitors arrived in Hawaii by air and cruise ship in January, up 2% from 2009. Those arriving by air spent a total $983.3 million statewide, an increase of 3.5% year over year.

Total visitor days increased across the state 2.9%, and while arrivals from the U.S. West were up 2.2% from last year, those from the U.S. East dipped 2.7% and visitors from Japan were off .6%.

Arrivals from Canada, however, jumped substantially.

"Our success with increasing air access has paid off most notably this month with the Canadian market," said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. "Arrivals from Canada increased 17.7% and total spending climbed 23.6% over last year to $105.9 million. Canadian travelers are taking advantage of the 60.5% increase in air seats with the additional service out of Calgary, Victoria and Vancouver. ... Canadian visitors are also spending more per day; $151 per person compared with $141 in January 2009."

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