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Visitor arrivals flat, but spending climbs, HTA says

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 8:12 p.m. HST, Jun 28, 2011

Total visitor arrivals to Hawaii remained essentially flat in May due to the continued drop in Japan arrivals, but total visitor spending grew 5.9 percent, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said today.

The $50.9 million gain in visitor spending represented the 13th consecutive month of increased visitor spending, HTA officials said. The 553,505 visitors that came to Hawaii in May spent a total of $912.3 million. Average daily spending among these visitors rose by $10 to $185 a day. 

The numbers show that Hawaii's visitor industry is continuing to rebound in 2011, said Mike McCartney, HTA president and chief executive.

"We anticipate activity to remain strong through the second half of the year, with increased airlift out of Asia and Oceania, and the establishment of the China Eastern Airlines service from Honolulu to Shanghai beginning in August," McCartney said "Our goal is to build on this momentum so that tourism can continue to drive Hawaii's economic recovery."

Overall, visitor arrivals to Hawaii rose by 0.6 percent in May from a year earlier, hurt by a 17 percent drop in Japanese arrivals as the country continued its recovery from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Arrivals from Canada grew 19 percent helping to offset minimal gains and drops from other markets. Arrivals from Hawaii's core U.S. West market grew 0.8 percent, while arrivals from the U.S. East rose 1.8 percent

For the first five months of the year, overall visitor spending was up 15.3 percent to $5 billion and total arrivals grew by 6.7 percent to about 2.96 million visitors, according to the HTA.

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