BY MARSHA WIENERT – Tourism in Hawaii continues to improve and its good performance and positive growth is expected to extend through the fourth quarter of 2010. October saw increased visitor arrivals from all geographic markets, up 13.6 percent, which resulted in increased spending by visitors on all islands. Total expenditures by visitors grew 24.7 percent ($191 million) compared to last October to nearly a billion dollars ($961.5 million). The positive increases are being felt throughout the state.
Of particular note in October was that overall visitors staying on one island only increased 15.2 percent and domestic visitors choosing one island only increased 19.3 percent to 329,534 visitors for the month. This could be attributed to the fact that 63.4 percent of all visitors and 69.4 percent of domestic visitors were repeat guests to our islands. Year-to-date 80.5 percent of U.S. West, 57 percent of U.S. East and 58.9 percent of Japanese visitors were repeat travelers to the islands.
Tourism’s continued growth was one of the factors that caused the state’s economic forecast to be revised upward. Visitor arrivals for the year are projected to increase 7.7 percent and visitor spending is expected to be $11.47 billion, an increase of 14.8 percent compared to 2009. Continued steady growth is expected through 2011.
It’s been a challenging couple of years, but the improving national and international economy is boosting consumer confidence. This confidence will generate an increased desire to travel for both business and pleasure.
While we remain optimistic about tourism’s future in our state, it is important to continually reinforce, improve and expand upon the Hawai’i brand and image worldwide. In doing so, we will continue to grow and prosper.
Marsha Wienert is the Tourism Liaison for Hawaii.