Economy Hawaii TourismWritten by Beverly Creamer On 30 September 2010

There’s good news for tourism today: visitor spending jumped 30 percent in August of this year compared to a year ago, with visitors spending a cool $35 million per day that month, according to Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

The total visitor spending in August was $1.1 billion, a jump of $250.5 million from August of 2009, according to the new HTA figures. As well total spending for the first eight months of 2010 was $7.5 billion – an increase of 12.7 percent over the first eight months of 2009.

“We had a good summer season with monthly visitor spending exceeding $1 billion in July and August, making it the first time since 2008 that (monthly) spending has topped the $1 billion mark,” McCartney said in a statement released today.

He attributes the hefty increases in overall spending to an 11.8 percent increase in visitor arrivals – August saw 680,496 guests – as well as a rise in average daily visitor spending. In August of 2009 visitors spent an average of $153 per person per day compared to $172 per person per day this August.

McCartney attributes some of the success to an HTA focus on short-term bookings, and the Baptist World Congress held here July 27-Aug. 3 that helped boost the total visitors for conventions, meetings and incentives by 23.5 percent above a year ago.

He also said HTA is working on spreading the wealth from Oahu to the Neighbor Islands as HTA continues to market the unique features of each island as well as emphasizing pre and post-event visits to the nabes in marketing strategies. Additionally new direct flight access is helping spread visitors out beyond Oahu.

Those strategies appear to be working.

“One of the highlights in August is heavier traffic and spending on Hawaii Island, Kauai, Maui and Lanai,” said McCartney.

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Beverly Creamer

A long-time Hawaii writer, formerly with The Honolulu Advertiser, and earlier, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. University of Hawaii graduate; Canadian born.

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