Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

InsightHawaii's tourism industry enjoyed a strong finish to the summer season as visitors spent a total of $1.1 billion across the state in August, a jump of 30% from the same month last year.

"The stellar performance by our visitor industry in August added an additional $250.5 million in visitor spending to Hawaii's successful summer travel season," Marsha Wienert, Hawaii's tourism liaison, said in a statement. "The months of June, July and August this year exceeded last year by 203,366 visitor arrivals and generated an additional $597 million circulating through our economy."

According to a monthly report released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority Sept. 30, per-person daily spending for August was up nearly $20 from the same period in 2009, and total visitor arrivals to Hawaii grew by 11.8%.

Year to date through August, visitors spent a total of $7.5 billion in Hawaii, an increase of 12.7% over the first eight months of 2009; meanwhile, arrivals were up 7% statewide, to nearly 4.8 million visitors.

"This fall, we anticipate continued growth in arrivals and spending over last year," HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney said in a statement. "Some of the factors that will contribute to the upturn will be our [conventions, meetings and incentive] business, Oceania and Canada's peak travel season, the startup of service from Haneda, new direct flights from the Pacific Northwest and the continued impact from our North American marketing blitzes."

Hawaii saw year-over-year growth from each of its four largest markets in August. Arrivals from Canada jumped 24.7%, while those from the U.S. West climbed 13.6%. The U.S. East saw an 8.8% increase, while Japanese visitors rose 1.9%.

Conventions, meetings and incentive business increased a total of 23.5% from a year ago; conventions arrivals alone rose 36.3%.

The neighbor islands also saw significant arrival increases. Lanai led the state, with 25.1% more visitors in August, followed by Molokai, up 15.8%, and the Big Island, up 12.2%.

"We still have a long way to go before we get back to pre-2008 levels," Wienert cautioned. "However, after six straight months of growth in visitor spending, businesses throughout the state are encouraged by the improvements in the visitor industry."

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