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Visitor arrivals and spending in Hawaii hit all-time highs

  • 2013 JANUARY 23 BSN Tourist in Waikiki. High school students from Japan, Naoya Izutani, left, Daiki Tsunemi, Masashi Hirabayashi, and Toru Imai take a photo with the Duke. SA photo by Craig T. Kojima

Visitor arrivals and spending last year shattered the previous records for Hawaii as the tourism industry continued to rebound strongly from the recent recession.

Just under 8 million visitors came to the state to top the previous high of 7.6 million in 2006, according to preliminary data released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Total visitors in 2012 were up 9.6 percent from 7.3 million in 2011 led by Japanese arrivals, which jumped 17 percent from the previous year. The U.S. West, the state’s largest tourism market, was up 6.7 percent in arrivals while U.S. East was up 3.5 percent and Canada ahead 4.3 percent.

Visitor spending for the year hit $14.3 billion, extending a record that it set during the first 11 months of 2012 when spending reached $12.9 billion. The previous full-year record was $12.8 billion in 2007. Total spending was up 18.7 percent from $12.1 billion last year and was led by Japan with a 21.7 percent increase. U.S. West was up 12.2 percent, with U.S. East ahead 9.9 percent and Canada up 9.8 percent.

For December, visitor arrivals increased 6.3 percent to 733,709 from 690,090 while spending rose 14.9 percent to $1.4 billion from $1.2 billion.

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