BY MIKE MCCARTNEY – Hawai‘i’s tourism economy continues to be on pace for a record year through July as the state welcomed 1,800 more visitors each day and an additional $17 dollars per person in daily spending compared to 2011. This activity has resulted in total visitor arrivals increasing 9.8 percent to 4.7 million visitors and total expenditures jumping 20.8 percent to $8.4 billion, up $1.4 billion from last year. Year-to-date visitor spending has generated an estimated $915 million in state tax revenues and will help to sustain more than 160,000 Hawai‘i jobs in 2012.
We anticipate that the momentum from the positive increase in visitor arrivals and spending will continue through the second half of the year. HTA’s ongoing efforts to lead global marketing initiatives, invest in programs contributing to incremental and new airlift, and cultivate and promote experiential activities and programs across the state has resulted in increasing visitors arrivals and spending throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
As a result, last month, the HTA revised its targets upward for 2012-2014 with arrivals and spending from U.S., Canada, Japan, Oceania and Europe outpacing original targets set back in September 2011.
At the recent 2012 Hawai‘i Tourism Conference, E Ku i ka Moku, the HTA gathered more than 600 industry professionals in addition to local, national and international experts to develop ideas and solutions to sustain Hawai‘i’s number one industry. The HTA is looking forward to building upon this teamwork and economic momentum to mālama Hawai‘i, provide quality experiences and support jobs for Hawai‘i residents.
Mike McCartney is president & CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority