By Mike McCartney, president & CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority – Hawai‘i’s tourism economy is on pace for a record-breaking year with a total of $12.9 billion in visitor expenditures through November, $2.1 billion more than the same period last year.
Every day for the first 11 months of the year, visitors who came to the Hawaiian Islands by air spent $193, which is $16 more per day than last year. The HTA’s continual efforts to increase airlift and distribution throughout the state have led to incremental growth in visitor arrivals and expenditures across the four major islands.
In July, the HTA board of directors approved aggressive targets to reach 7.89 million visitors and $13.9 billion in expenditures. At the current pace, we anticipate reaching, if not exceeding these targets.
We are optimistic as we look to the coming year, with the greatest potential from our international markets. There has been tremendous growth from the Asia and Oceania regions, as a result of numerous new flights and increases in flight frequency in 2012 with more expected in 2013.
While a record year for tourism will be a milestone, we remain vigilant in monitoring increasing travel costs, our Meetings, Conventions and Incentives (MCI) sales efforts, as well as global trends. Through collaborative efforts with our global marketing partners and the visitor industry, we look forward to continuing to build a sustainable tourism economy for our state.