Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

InsightIn a quarterly report released this month, Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said it expects visitor arrivals to the state in 2010 to grow 7.7% year over year, an increase of 3.1% from its previous forecast in August.

"We are happy to see that most of the economic indicators in our state showed positive growth during the third quarter of this year," said DBEDT Director Theodore Liu. "The growth of our two largest industries, tourism and federal government, is very healthy. We are expecting more than 7 million visitors this year."

Hawaii hasn't broken the 7 million-visitor mark since 2007 when the state welcomed nearly 7.5 million total arrivals.

The November DBEDT report also projected total visitor expenditures would soar 14.8% year over year in 2010, up 6.6% from their August forecast. Total visitor days are now expected to jump 8.2%, an increase of 4.1% from the previous estimate.

In 2009, visitors to Hawaii who arrived by air spent a total of $9.79 billion. The state's visitor industry enjoyed record earnings in 2007 when visitors arriving by air spent more than $12.57 billion.

DBEDT officials are hopeful that Hawaii's economic recovery will continue in 2011, and the November report predicts total arrivals will grow 4.1% next year. Total visitor days are also expected to increase just over 4%, and total visitor expenditures are forecast to increase by 8.4% over 2010's annual figures.

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