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Hawaii visitor spending, arrivals jump in August

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 12:47 p.m. HST, Sep 27, 2012

The peak summer travel season ended with a sizzle for the state’s visitor industry, which saw arrivals rise by 11 percent and spending, grow by 14.6 percent in August, according to data released this morning by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Some 725,642 visitors came to the islands in August and they spent nearly $1.19 billion. The growth in spending was buoyed by a rise in daily spending and arrivals, which were augmented by a 15 percent increase in air seats this August as compared to the same month last year.

Visitor arrivals were up across all islands and total spending was up on all islands except for Molokai and Lanai. Arrivals and total spending were up in most major markets, including the U.S. West (defined as the 11 Pacific states west of the Rockies), the U.S. East (all other states), Japan, cruise ships, and a category called all others, which encompasses emerging markets like Taiwan, China and Korea.

Arrivals from the U.S. West, Hawaii’s top visitor market, grew 7.6 percent to 307,192 visitors and spending rose by 13.6 percent to $423 million. The U.S. East, Hawaii’s higher spending domestic market, posted a 9.6 rise in visitors to 143,785 and a 19 percent gain in spending to $277.1 million. Arrivals from Japan increased by 12.8 percent to 155,318 and spending grew by 5.6 percent to $248 million. Cruise ship visitors rose by 3.8 percent to 1,883 visitors and spending from this market rose by 56 percent to about $120,000. Visitors from all other markets climbed 28.8 percent to 90,182 and spent $194.4 million, which was 29.2 percent more than they did last year. These gains more than compensated for a scant .6 decline in arrivals from Canada, which was the source market for 27,282 visitors. Total spending from Canada also dropped 1.4 percent to $45.3 million.

For the first eight months of 2012, total arrivals grew 10 percent to 5,378,263 visitors. Year to date spending through August also was up 20 percent to $9.59 billion. Total air seats grew 6.9 percent during this period.

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