BY MIKE MCCARTNEY – The momentum of 2011 continued into January 2012 for a strong start to the New Year. Visitor spending for January 2012 reached $1.35 billion, up 13.9 percent over January 2011, making it the highest January on record for expenditures.
The gains in expenditures were seen across the major islands and in each of our major market areas, contributing $164 million more into our state’s economy, boosting arrivals 7.7 percent, while distributing the benefits of tourism across the state. A strong holiday season, combined with pent up demand for travel to the Hawaiian Islands, increases in airlift and a large delegation of convention attendees were all contributing factors to the increases seen in January. Kaua‘i lead the way in visitor arrival increases for January, up 10 percent over 2011, thanks to increased direct service and a charter flight from China.
The HTA is proud of the hard work and dedication of our visitor industry, demonstrated by the strong performance in January, which is a good indicator for the year to come. We will continue to work with our global marketing partners to drive demand, help sustain healthy airlift and support unique experiences throughout the Hawaiian Islands for both residents and visitors.
Mike McCartney is President and CEO, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority