The Hawaii Tourism Authority reported today that October visitor arrivals grew 8.6 percent to 640,666 and spending rose 12.7 percent to $1.1 billion.
The gains met or surpassed the HTA’s montly goals and have kept Hawaii’s industry on track to reach its year-end targets.
“As tourism continues to stimulate Hawai‘i’s economy, the HTA is optimistic that this positive momentum will continue through the rest of the year, and will lead us to exceed our aggressive 2012 targets of 7.89 million total visitor arrivals and $13.9 billion in total expenditures,” said Mike McCartney, HTA president and CEO.
All four of the larger Hawaiian islands reported growth in total expenditures and arrivals. While spending increased or stayed constant across all of Hawaii’s major visitor markets, October arrivals declined from the U.S. East and Canada.
Arrivals from Hawaii’s core U.S. West visitor market, which encompasses 11 Pacific states west of the Rockies, rose for the 12th consecutive month. The 9.6 percent year-over-year gain brought 255,602 U.S. West visitors to Hawaii in October. Spending by these visitors rose 15.2 percent from September of 2011 to $381.7 million.
U.S. East arrivals, which had sustained 12 months of increases before falling slightly last month, dropped by 1.4 percent in October to 118,799 visitors. However, these fewer U.S. East visitors stayed longer, which led to a 2 percent rise to $245.5 million in spending.
Arrivals from Japan, Hawaii’s top international market, grew 18.8 percent to 125,742 visitors. Spending from these visitors also increased to $236.4. million, an 18.8 percent gain from October 2011.
Canadian arrivals, which fell in September, fell again in October. The 4.4 percent decline resulted in only 28,276 Canadian visitors coming last month; however, a longer average stay kept spending flat at $57.4 million.
Arrivals from all other markets, which include emerging markets like China, Korea, Taiwan, Latin America and Europe, grew 11.1 percent to 84,241 visitors. Total spending from these developing markets grew 19.1 percent to $185.1 million.
Visitor arrivals by cruise ships climbed 28.1 percent to 28,006 visitors from October 2011. They spent $6.7 million in Hawaii, which was a gain of 109.9 percent from the same month last year.
While the pace of gains was slightly slower than the first nine months of the year, October increases helped push year-to-date total visitor arrivals up by 9.5 percent and spending by 18.9 percent.Through October, 6.6 million visitors came to Hawaii and spent nearly $11.8 billion.
“As a result of building stronger price positioning for Hawai‘i’s product offerings, visitor spending in October 2012 continued to show significant growth, generating an incremental $1.9 billion in total expenditures and $204 million in additional tax revenue for the state,” McCartney said. “These increases in spending helped to balance the slower growth in visitor arrivals in October, which can be attributed to the historic trend of yielding travel prior to a presidential election.”
The growth in total air seats to Hawaii also bodes well for Hawaii tourism, McCartney said.
Total air seats in October increased to 828,932, which was an 11. 3 percent rise from the same month in 2011. Year to date, air seat capacity is up 8 percent.
“Hawaii has become the fourth largest port of entry in the U.S., after New York, Miami and Los Angeles,” he said. “We’ve got the fastest growth rate at 24 percent, we just passed Newark.”