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Visitor arrivals, spending up for February

  • JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    People took in an orange sunset, March 20, at Ala Moana Beach Park.

February was a month to love for Hawaii’s visitor industry, which continued this year’s trend of climbing arrivals and spending.

Visitors to Hawaii in February rose nearly 2 percent to 700,426 visitors and spending increased nearly 8 percent to $1.3 billion, according to preliminary data released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The agency reported that there were 230,544 visitors on any given day in February with a combined daily spending of $47.8 million. Their average length of stay increased a smidge.

“What’s most impressive about February’s results is how strong daily visitor spending was from Hawaii’s four largest markets and how that overall impact was transferred to all islands statewide,” said HTA President and CEO George D. Szigeti said in a statement.“Altogether, tourism poured $1.34 billion into Hawaii’s economy; a $95 million increase over last February that is even more remarkable considering it was a leap year month with one extra day.”

These results were achieved even though the number of air seats serving Hawaii in February 2017 declined just over 1 percent to an average of 32,582 seats per day and arrivals from Hawaii’s core U.S. West market were roughly flat at 261,244 visitors.

Arrivals growth came from the U.S. East, which rose nearly 5 percent to 159,783 visitors, and Japan, which rose nearly 6 percent to 123,577, along with cruise ship traffic, which increased 178 percent to 13,404 visitors. However, arrivals from Canada, which used to be a strong winter market for Hawaii, fell 5 percent to 55,405 and arrivals from a category that combines all international travelers from markets outside of Canada and Japan fell just over 7 percent to 87,012 visitors.

Total spending by visitors from the U.S. West rose 13.3 percent to nearly $470 million, while total spending from the smaller domestic market, the U.S. East, climbed 10.2 percent nearly $358 million. Spending from Japan, Hawaii’s top international market, increased just over 10 percent to nearly $176 million and spending from the mature Canada market rose just over 7 percent to nearly $124 million. The category that combines all international travelers from markets outside of Canada and Japan saw spending dip nearly 9 percent to just over $208 million. Spending by cruise ship visitors increased nearly 153 percent to nearly $4 million.

February’s results helped push year-to-date arrivals up 3.3 percent to just over 1.4 million visitors and their spending up 9 percent to nearly $3 billion.

“In the first two months, $344 million has been generated in tax revenue for the State, which is $28.4 million, or 9 percent, more than last year,” Szigeti said. “We are thrilled with these results through the first two months of 2017, but are not taking this success for granted. Intensive marketing and promotional efforts are continuing in our global markets to maintain Hawaii’s positive momentum.”

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