Hawaii visitors who attended the 2009 NFL Pro Bowl spent $28.6 million, an increase of almost 2% from 2008's $28.1 million. This year's 18,487 Pro Bowl visitor total did, however, represent a drop of 6.8% from the 19,834 who arrived last year.

According to the statement released Feb. 17 by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, attendance at the game also increased somewhat, up to 49,958 from 2008's 49,621 total. But the ratings for the game dipped. Nielsen reported a 5.4 rating for the 2009 Pro Bowl, a decrease from 2008's 6.3.

Thirty percent of Hawaii's Pro Bowl visitors planned a stopover on one of the neighboring islands during their stay; 63% of them headed to Maui. Molokai drew 45%, while the Big Island and Kauai welcomed 32% and 21%, respectively.

Although the 2010 Pro Bowl will be held in Miami, the HTA is negotiating with the NFL for its return to Hawaii.

"The Pro Bowl has been a part of our community for 30 years," said Lloyd Unebasami, the HTA's interim president and CEO. "And we would like to see that relationship continue for years to come."

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