Hawaii visitors spend 25 percent more in October

AP News
Posted: Nov 30, 2010 7:16 PM
Hawaii visitors spend 25 percent more in October

Spending by visitors to Hawaii jumped 24.7 percent in October compared to the same month last year as the state's tourism industry recovers from the economic downturn.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said Tuesday that spending rose as more travelers visited Hawaii and as they spent more on average during their stay.

The gains followed a year-long trend in which spending rose 14.7 percent for the first 10 months of 2010.

Hawaii Tourism Authority President Mike McCartney said he's viewing the figures with "cautious optimism."

"While the trends are positive, we have not yet fully recovered. Therefore, we need to continue our efforts to aggressively market Hawaii to help drive demand," McCartney said in a statement.

The agency said total visitor spending hit $961.5 million in October, up $190.6 million from October 2009. The number of visitors rose 13.6 percent to 574,425.

The greatest growth came from the West Coast, which sent 21.4 percent more visitors, and Canada, which sent 17.2 percent more.

"It's been a challenging couple of years, but the improving national and international economy is boosting consumer confidence," said Marsha Wienert, the state's tourism liaison. "The confidence will generate an increased desire to travel for both business and pleasure."

She said the gains were being felt across the state.

Visitor arrivals on Lanai grew most rapidly, by 22 percent, followed by Maui with 20 percent and Molokai at 18.3 percent. Visitors to the Big Island increased 13.8 percent.

The islands experiencing the slowest growth were Kauai, with 7.9 percent, and Oahu with 10.3 percent. Spending grew significantly on all the islands.

The tourism authority, which is funded by the state hotel tax, is tasked with promoting travel to Hawaii.