BY MIKE MCCARTNEY – While growth in arrivals and spending was more moderate in April than in past months, we are pleased that our results so far in 2013 have remained steadfast and ahead of 2012 pace. We experienced strong incremental growth in 2012 during our traditionally slower shoulder period, which is the base for measuring 2013 growth.
Year-to-date we have welcomed an average of 23,300 visitors per day (+6.1%) who spent an average of $42 million per day (+6.3%), benefitting all of the major islands. This translates into almost $300 million more into Hawai‘i’s economy and provided $32 million more in tax revenue compared to the same period in 2012. This increase in spending was enough to support more than 3,000 new jobs.
However, the leveling off experienced in April was due to numerous factors, including currency exchange rates and travel costs, as well as competition from other destinations.
We will continue to see reductions in the average length of stay and per person per day spending as visitors exercise caution in reaching their budgeted spending limits. We anticipate this trend to continue through May and the first half of June, until we head into the summer travel season. We are also cognizant of airlines adjusting their routes to meet demand, resulting in reduced service to the Hawaiian Islands during the second half of the year.
Our core markets have helped to sustain us, and we are pleased to see arrivals from our developing international markets increase by double-digits, including Australia, New Zealand, China and Korea, as we continue our efforts to diversify our tourism profile.
We will continue to work collaboratively with our marketing partners and the visitor industry to balance our efforts in order to ensure that we continue to make 2013 a successful year for our tourism economy.
Mike McCartney is the President and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority