Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

InsightAccording to the Hawaii Tourism Authority's preliminary statistics for October, total expenditures by visitors who came to Hawaii during the month jumped 24.7% when compared with October 2009.

All told, travelers to Hawaii spent $961.5 million in October, or $190.6 million more than they did during same month last year.

"Tourism in Hawaii continues to improve, and its good performance and positive growth is expected to extend through the fourth quarter of 2010," Marsha Wienert, Hawaii's tourism liaison, said in a statement. "October saw increased visitor arrivals from all geographic markets ... which resulted in increased spending by visitors on all islands."

Average daily spending by visitors statewide increased nearly 10%, to $188.70, and total arrivals to Hawaii were up 13.6%. Among the destination's top four markets, travelers from the U.S. West rose 21.4%, while those from the U.S. East increased 6.1% year over year. Visitors from Canada surged 17.2%, and arrivals from Japan inched up 1.6%.

"The results for October can be best described as cautious optimism," Mike McCarthy, HTA president and CEO, said in a statement. "It was a very strong month for Hawaii's tourism economy, with double-digit growth in visitor arrivals and spending. But while the trends are positive, we have not yet fully recovered. Therefore, we need to continue our efforts to aggressively market Hawaii to help drive demand."

Through the first 10 months of 2010, Hawaii welcomed nearly 5.9 million visitors, up 7.8% from the same period one year ago. Total visitor days also increased 8.1% year over year, and total visitor spending jumped 12.3%.

Maui saw the largest increase in arrivals during October, as its total number of visitors grew by 20%. The Big Island followed with an increase of 13.7%, Oahu was up 10.3% for the month, and Kauai finished with a rise of 7.9%.

October also saw an increase in statewide meetings, conventions and incentive activity, with MCI visitors growing 6.3% compared with the same month in 2009. Corporate meetings business was up 53.3% during the month, and incentive travelers skyrocketed 82.2% year over year in October.

Although both Wienert and McCarthy were quick to mention that Hawaii's visitor industry has a long way to go in order to return to the record-setting spending and arrival figures recorded in 2006 and 2007, McCarthy did concede that the state is faring better than some of its competitors.

"There is no doubt that we are in a solid position, especially compared to other markets that are not rebounding at the same pace as Hawaii," McCarthy said. "Nevertheless, strengthening Hawaii's tourism economy remains our top priority. ... We will continue to collaborate with our industry partners to aggressively market Hawaii and to provide an incomparable experience."

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