Visitor spending in Hawaii tops $1B in February

Total visitor spending increased 8.5 percent to top $1 billion in February, as visitors from the West Coast, Japan and Canada showed gains in both arrivals and average daily spending, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said Thursday.

Total arrivals rose 5.6 percent to 626,367 visitors in February, when compared to the same period last year, the HTA said. Those visitors spent a collective $1.1 billion last month, an 8.5 percent increase from $1 billion in February 2011. Per-person-per-day spending in February rose 2.2 percent to $182.80, compared to $178.90 in February 2011.

Of Hawaii’s four major visitor markets, Canadians continue to post strong numbers in Hawaii, with a 9.6 percent increase in visitor arrivals and an 8.5 percent increase in spending in February. The market has posted consecutive monthly gains since January 2011.

The HTA is monitoring the rising fuel prices and how they may affect visitors’ decisions to travel this year, President and CEO Mike McCartney  said in a statement. “However, we are optimistic that the increases in airlift through the second and third quarter, coupled with the anticipated announcement of new service, are indicative that there continues to be high demand for travel to the Hawaiian Islands,” he said.

Meanwhile, all the islands, except Molokai, saw gains in visitor spending in February that ranged from 6.7 percent on the Big Island to 19.6 percent on Lanai. Visitor arrivals were also up all around, except on Lanai, which remained flat. Kauai saw the biggest bump in arrivals, with 6.9 percent, in February.

The HTA reports that total visitor spending for the first two months of the year increased 11.4 percent to $2.44 billion, indicating that Hawaii’s tourism-led economic recovery continues its momentum. Total visitor arrivals climbed 6.7 percent to approximately 1.3 million in the first two months of the year, when compared to the same period in 2011.

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