During November, 490,514 visitors arrived in Hawaii by air and cruise ship, off just 1.4% from the same month last year.

According to preliminary statistics released Dec. 28 by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, total visitor expenditures for the month were down 2.2%, or $17.7 million, from 2008's figures.

Average daily spending for the month was off only slightly, dropping from $175 per person in November 2008 to $174 per person this year.

Arrivals by air from Hawaii's largest market, the U.S. West, fell for the first time in six months, slipping 3.7% year over year.

Among the state's three other major markets, visitors arriving by air also dropped from the U.S. East, down 7.8%, and Canada, off 7.4%. Air arrivals from Japan, however, were up for the third consecutive month, climbing 7.9% from November of last year.

"We are also projecting strong December numbers from Japan with visitors in Hawaii for the Honolulu Marathon and the Oshogatsu [New Year] holiday," said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, in a statement. "As a result of the demand, Delta has already indicated it'll be ... increasing seat inventory by approximately 200 seats a day from Japan to Honolulu, effective February 2010."

Total visitor days for those arriving to the islands by air and cruise decreased 2% from last November, and the average length of stay by all visitors was 9.22 days, essentially unchanged from the same month last year.

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