*logoVisitors arriving to Hawaii by air during June spent a total of $843.9 million, off 16.1% when compared with the same period in 2008. According to Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, a total of 550,421 visitors arrived by air in June, down 5.2% from last year.

"June's results were not unexpected, as global economic conditions are continuing to affect Hawaii's visitor industry and our economy," state tourism liaison Marsha Wienert said in a statement released in conjunction with the DBEDT report. "Additionally, concerns about the H1N1 influenza contributed to the large decrease in international travel, especially visitor arrivals from Japan."

June air arrivals from Japan plummeted 32.8% year over year, the largest decline from the Japanese market since a 36.6% drop-off in May 2003.

Among Hawaii's other top three markets, visitors arriving by air from Canada dropped 10.5%, while those coming from the U.S. East declined 4%. Air arrivals from the U.S. West, however, increased for the second consecutive month, climbing 4.9% from June 2008.

"The growth in visitors from the U.S. West in June was very positive news and a result of very attractive travel packaging and increased marketing efforts in our base market," Wienert said. "The health of the visitor industry and our economy through the remainder of 2009 will depend not only on visitor arrivals, but also on visitor spending."

In the same DBEDT statement, Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney discussed his organization's efforts to combat the state's prolonged trend of deteriorating visitor arrivals and spending figures.

"In response to the crisis facing our visitor industry, the Hawaii Tourism Authority has allocated 86% of its budget to support marketing-related programs," McCartney said. "This includes aggressive marketing campaigns to stimulate travel to Hawaii, especially from our two core markets: U.S. West and Japan.

"In Japan, we have launched new consumer marketing campaigns to generate bookings," McCartney added. "We have already begun to see some initial results with 23 extra flights added in July and August and eight additional flights added during 'silver week' in September to accommodate demand."

During the first six months of 2009, about 3.2 million visitors arrived to Hawaii by air, falling 9.9% year over year, and spent $4.97 billion, off more than 15% from 2008. Year-to-date air arrivals from the U.S. East are off 12.1%, while spending by those visitors has plunged 19.7%. U.S. West arrivals are down 7.8%, and their spending decreased 13.1%.

"We are optimistic about the increase in arrivals from the U.S. West [in June] for the second consecutive month," McCartney said. "With heightened marketing efforts and scheduled blitzes on the West Coast and in the Pacific Northwest, we are hopeful that this trend will continue through the fall."

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