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Visitor arrivals up 6.1% in September, spending up 15.6%

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 2:22 p.m. HST, Oct 30, 2012

Hawaii’s visitor industry moved into September with small losses in tourist traffic from the U.S. East and Canada the only signs of the traditional fall slowdown.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority reported today that September visitor arrivals grew 6.1 percent to 595,019 and spending rose 15.6 percent to $1.1 billion, which was $146.5 million more than in September of 2011. The gains in arrivals and spending are on track to reach HTA’s year-end target of 7.89 million arrivals and $13.9 billion in expenditures, said David Uchiyama, HTA’s vice president of brand management.

“Right now, our pace is looking to be pretty close in line with the targets that we set,” Uchiyama said. “Of course, unexpected circumstances like what Sandy has brought into the picture could have an impact. Sandy could have an impact on our goals because of west bound travel.”

Arrivals from Hawaii’s core U.S. West visitor market, which encompasses 11 Pacific states west of the Rockies, rose for the 11th consecutive month. The 3.1 percent year-over-year gain brought 232,076 U.S. West visitors to Hawaii inSeptember. Spending by these visitors rose 13.2 percent from September of 2011 to $344.3 million.

After 12 months of increases, U.S. East arrivals fell a scant 1.9 percent to 109,922 visitors in September 2012. However, these fewer U.S. East visitors spent 6.7 percent more than their counterparts last year taking total spending from this market to$232.8 million.

Arrivals from Japan, Hawaii’s top international market, grew 9 percent to 133,958 visitors. Spending from these visitors also increased to $253.5 million, a 12.2 percent gain from September 2011.

Canadian arrivals fell 2.2 percent to 19,239, while total spending from this market stayed flat at $36.5 million.

Arrivals from all other markets, which include emerging markets like China, Korea, Taiwan, Latin America and Europe, grew 19.7 percent to 88,168 visitors. Total spending from these developing markets grew 40.4 percent to $214.8 million.

Visitor arrivals by out-of-state cruise ships climbed 52.5 percent to 11,656 visitors from September 2011. They spent $3.42 million in Hawaii, which was a gain of 161 percent from the same month last year.

During the first nine months of the year, total visitor arrivals grew 9.6 percent to 5.97 million and spending grew 19.5 percent to $10.7 billion.

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