By Mike McCartney – Total visitor expenditures reached $11 billion (+4%) and total visitor arrivals surpassed 6 million (+4.5%) during the first three quarters of the year and continue to pace ahead of 2012, despite the dip in arrivals and spending in the month of September. Year-to-date through September 2013, Hawai‘i’s tourism economy has contributed $1.15 billion in state tax revenue, $45 million more than same time last year.
Year-to-date results reflect our ongoing efforts to create a more sustainable tourism economy through diversification. With an additional $2 million in legislative funding for international marketing, the HTA has been able to nurture developing global markets, which are collectively up nearly 10 percent in visitor arrivals and spending. Furthermore, despite a decline in total Japanese outbound travel, arrivals to Hawai‘i out of this market have remained stable due to an increase in seat inventory and new routes from Japan to the Hawaiian Islands.
In attracting visitors from new markets, the ratio of first-timers, who tend to spend more, has also increased in September (+38.5%), in comparison to the year-to-date average of 35 percent. The HTA also continues to focus on marketing unique visitor experiences on each of the Hawaiian Islands to enhance distribution across the state. As a result, visitor arrivals and expenditures on all neighbor islands have continued to increase through September 2013.
We will continue to monitor the effects of the federal government shutdown and delicate global economy to ensure the sustainability and success of our tourism industry.
Mike McCartney is the President and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority