Categorized | Business

Visitor spending hits record $14.3B in 2012


Growth in total visitor expenditures and arrivals in every month of the year elevated annual 2012 total visitor expenditures to a record $14.3 billion1, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

A record 7,998,815 total visitors (+9.6%) came to the state in 2012, exceeding the previous high of 7,628,118 visitors in 2006.

For the month of December 2012, total visitor expenditures rose 14.9 percent (or +$184.6 million) to $1.4 billion, boosted by higher daily spending (+9.4% to $194 per person) and a 6.3 percent growth in total arrivals (to 733,709 visitors).

Annual 2012 Highlights:

* There were strong increases in total visitor expenditures from U.S. West (+12.2% to $4.6 billion), U.S. East (+9.9% to $3.4 billion), Japan (+21.7% to $2.6 billion), Canada (+9.8% to $995 million) and All Other markets (+50.7% to $2.6 billion).

* Arrivals among the top visitor markets exceeded 2011: U.S. West (+6.7% to 3,194,975), U.S. East (+3.5% to 1,699,124), Japan (+17% to 1,452,563) and Canada (+4.3% to 498,241).

* A total of 992,291 visitors arrived from developing markets, up 21.3 percent from 2011 (see Visitor Arrivals by Air from All Other Markets, page 6).

* Total visitor expenditures and arrivals by air for the four larger Hawaiian Islands increased from 2011: Oahu (+18.7% to $7.4 billion; +11.1% to 4,891,540); Maui (+18.8% to $3.6 billion; +5.9% to 2,295,867); Hawaii Island (+17.7% to $1.7 billion; +8.8% to 1,434,271); and Kauai (+20.1% to $1.4 billion; +7.3% to 1,084,868).

* A total of 283,293 visitors came by cruise ship or by air to board cruise ships, up 16.1 percent compared to 2011. Visitor days for all cruise ship visitors rose 7.5 percent from the previous year.

Other 2012 Highlights:

* More visitors came to honeymoon (+9.6% to 577,567) in 2012 compared to last year. Much of the increase was driven by visitors from Japan (+15.9% to 247,001) and All Other Markets (+14.3% to 125,292).

* For the month of December 2012, arrivals by air from U.S. West rose 8.8 percent to 289,301 visitors and total U.S. West visitor expenditures increased 15 percent to $470.1 million. U.S. East arrivals grew 3.6 percent to 149,403 visitors while total visitor spending was up 5.9 percent to $315.8 million.

* Japanese arrivals increased 5.4 percent to 120,116 visitors. Higher daily spending (+3.2% to $311 per person) also contributed to a 5.5 percent growth in total expenditures to $224.2 million.

* Canadian arrivals increased 2.2 percent to 66,897 visitors and total Canadian visitor expenditures were 6 percent higher compared to December 2011 at $130.8 million.

* Arrivals (+22.1% to 98,446 visitors) and total spending (+45.8% to $281.1 million) by visitors from All Other developing markets increased significantly from December 2011.

* Contributing to the growth in U.S. West arrivals in December 2012 were increases from Pacific region (+10.3%) states: Alaska (+14.6%), California (+10.5%), Oregon (+10.3%) and Washington (+8.7%).

* Growth in U.S. East arrivals for December 2012 was led by the Middle Atlantic region (+18.4%), which was supported by increased air service. Arrivals from the New England (+8.6%), South Atlantic (+2.3%) and West South Atlantic (+1.6%) regions were also higher compared to December 2011.

Island Highlights:

All four of the major Hawaiian Islands reported growth in total expenditures and arrivals by air for December 2012. For annual 2012, total visitor expenditures in each of the four major islands increased by double-digits from the previous year.

* Hawaii Island: Hawaii Island showed the largest growth in visitor arrivals for a third consecutive month, with a 9.4 percent increase in December 2012 to 135,400 visitors. Arrivals from U.S. West (+10.3% to 55,693) and Japan (+9.3% to 15,760) increased; while U.S. East and Canadian arrivals were about the same as in December 2011. Higher daily spending (+13.7% to $165 per person) also contributed to a 20.9 percent jump in total visitor expenditures to $180.2 million.

* Oahu: Arrivals to Oahu rose 8.5 percent to 449,079 visitors in December 2012 with increases from all top four visitor markets: U.S. West (+9.2% to 131,004), Japan (+5.3% to 115,794), U.S. East (+1.6% to 89,169) and Canada (+2.7% to 27,854). Growth in daily spending (+9.6% to $209 per person) also bolstered Oahu’s total visitor expenditures (+15.9%) to $742.3 million.

* Kauai: Arrivals to Kauai rose 6.8 percent to 97,134 visitors in December 2012. Growth in arrivals from U.S. West (+10.2% to 49,768) and U.S. East (+1.5% to 27,400) offset decreases from Canada (-15.1% to 7,747) and Japan (-1.7% to 2,340). Despite lower daily spending (-2% to $163 per person), total visitor expenditures on Kauai increased 5.7 percent to $126 million in December 2012

* Maui: In December 2012, increased daily spending (+8.3% to $196 per person) and arrivals (+6.5% to 208,223 visitors) contributed to a 13.3 percent growth in Maui’s total visitor expenditures to $357.8 million. Growth in arrivals from U.S. West (+6.6% to 94,231), U.S. East (+7.4% to 51,400) and Japan (+4.8% to 5,298) offset a 5.8 percent drop from Canada (to 32,601).

Mike McCartney, President and CEO Hawaii Tourism Authority

2012 was the best year on record for Hawaii’s tourism economy. I am proud of how our visitor industry has worked together since 2009 to help make this happen. The impressive returns are a direct result of all of the involved – from the HTA board, staff, marketing partners, industry and community coming together to achieve this record.

In 2009, we hit a low of $27 million in visitor spending per day, $930 million in state tax revenue and supported 133,000 jobs. Today, just three years later, daily visitor spending has topped $39 million, state tax revenue reached $1.58 billion and tourism is supporting 167,000 jobs.

Hawaii Island showed the largest growth in visitor arrivals for a third consecutive month in December (+9.4% to 135,400) resulting in an 8.8 percent increase in total island arrivals in 2012 with 1.4 million visitors.

Arrival growth was led by strong recovery from Japan (+21.4% to 200,686) and Canada (+10.5% to 96,887) and year-over-year growth from U.S. West (+5.1% to 575,704) and U.S. East (+3.9% to 380,537).

Higher daily spending (+8.8% to $164 per person) resulted in a 17.7 percent increase in total expenditures to $1.7 billion for the year.

We could not have achieved this momentous year without the hard work and dedication of the people that support our industry – from the bellmen, store keepers and flight attendants to the legislature, business community and residents – we all came together to help Hawaii.

Through the aloha spirit of our people, we have made Hawaii a globally competitive destination during challenging economic times and paved the way for us to grow Hawaii’s market share.

We strengthened our efforts in 2012 by enhancing our strategic plans to focus on marketing programs that drive travel demand, visitor arrivals and spending.

Through an additional $2 million in legislative funding for international markets and new flights from the Asia-Pacific region, we were able to further leverage our marketing efforts in international markets such as Japan, China, Korea and Australia, which significantly contributed to the growth in 2012.

Our continual efforts to grow international markets is critical for Hawaii’s tourism industry to remain competitive. New routes from Asia and the U.S. East provide greater connectivity from regions such as Southeast Asia, Europe and Latin America.

Together with our marketing partners, we plan to capitalize on these opportunities to develop and expand these new and emerging markets.

We continue to place a priority on direct air access and distributing visitors across the state. This includes monitoring new flights from the East Coast, as well as those originating from Oakland, San Jose and San Diego, which support multiple daily flights to the Hawaiian Islands, exceeding current market demand and resulting in reduced airfares.

The HTA also continues to focus efforts on reopening Kona as a second international port of entry. Airlift is central not only to tourism’s prosperity, but toward creating greater opportunities for other industries to expand and succeed, further diversifying Hawaii’s economy.

We also have the opportunity to further expand our meetings, conventions and incentives (MCI) market in the upcoming years. Coupled with our initiatives to restructure our MCI sales and marketing efforts, with our new Meet Hawaii team, we will work to increase Hawaii’s visibility as a global meetings destination.

The HTA is optimistic in reaching our aggressive 2013 targets of $14.88 billion in visitor spending and 8.2 million visitors. However, we will continue to monitor national and global trends which could affect our tourism economy.

Together with our global marketing contractors and industry partners, we will continue our efforts to make 2013 another successful year for Hawaii’s visitor industry.

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