Event gives $12.8M boost to Isles
By Kelly Yamanouchi
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Honolulu Festival brought about 5,500 tourists to Hawai'i last weekend, adding as much as $12.8 million in visitor spending to the economy, tourism officials said.
This year's tourist draw was greater than last year's estimated 4,600 visitors and $10.7 million in visitor spending.
"Strictly from a visitor-spending standpoint, they bring an awful lot to the table, plus the cultural aspects of it the ties that Hawai'i has to Japan," said Rex Johnson, executive director of the Hawai'i Tourism Authority. This year, events commemorated 150 years of U.S.-Japan relations.
The Hawai'i Tourism Authority sponsored the festival with $200,000 from its coffers. The festival this year was estimated to bring in tax revenues of about $770,000.
Aside from visitor spending, festival participants and organizers spend even more money putting on the event, such as through renting trucks and equipment, Johnson said.
The Honolulu Festival, like many of the major tourist events in Hawai'i, tries to draw visitors to the Islands in slower tourism periods. During off-peak times outside of summer and the holidays, hotels have more rooms available, and tourism-dependent businesses, such as retailers and visitor attractions, look for ways to drum up more business.
The first Honolulu Festival was in 1995. Attendance has steadily increased since then, according to the Honolulu Festival Foundation.
Reach Kelly Yamanouchi at 535-2470, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.