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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 10:18 a.m., Monday, November 29, 2004

Tourism industry gains 'exceptional'

By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i's tourism industry continued to grow last month with increases in visitor arrivals and spending.

The state saw 560,134 visitors in October, up 9.7 percent compared to the same month last year, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

Visitor arrivals from the Mainland hit another monthly record, growing 9.8 percent over October last year to reach 383,576. International visitor arrivals totaled 176,558, an increase of 9.3 percent.

"Hawai'i's visitor industry has had exceptional growth this year," said state tourism liaison, Marsha Wienert. "Contributing to the October increase was a 10.4 percent growth in airline seats. The honeymoon market continues to remain strong, as evidenced by the 13.6 percent increase in this market segment in October."

Arrivals for the first 10 months of the year totaled 5.76 million, nearly 76,000 behind arrivals for the same period in 2000, which saw a record 6.95 tourists. Tourism officials are expecting visitor arrivals this year to come close to, if not surpass, the 2000 record.

Visitor spending totaled $849.9 million in October, up 8.9 percent. That brought year-to-date expenditure figures to $8.5 billion, up 6.8 percent over the same period last year.

U.S. West visitors spent the most at $300.8 million, followed by visitors from the U.S. East with $241.2 million, Japan with $192.6 million and Canada at $21.2 million.

Visitors' average length of stay fell 5.1 percent compared to October 2003, but visitor days grew by 4 percent.

All four major markets reported higher visitor arrivals last month compared to the previous October, with increases of 5.5 percent from the U.S. West, 14.6 percent from the U.S. East, 8.5 percent from Japan and 17 percent from Canada.

Every island saw more visitors except for Moloka'i, whose October visitor arrivals dropped by 12.3 percent. The Big Island saw the largest increase at 14.1 percent, followed by O'ahu at 9.9 percent, Maui at 6.7 percent, Kaua'i at 5.4 percent and Lana'i at 5 percent.

A total of 35,441 out-of-state cruise visitors toured the Islands last month aboard two Hawai'i home-ported cruise ships, the Norwegian Wind and the Pride of Aloha, and nine other ships. That's 56.6 percent higher than October last year, when there were six out-of-state cruise ships and one Hawai'i-based ship, the Norwegian Star.

For the year-to-date the number of cruise ship visitors declined 3.1 percent over the same period last year, mainly because of a scheduling shift that resulted in smaller passenger capacity to the state in the first half of the year.

Reach Lynda Arakawa at larakawa@honoluluadvertiser.com or at 535-2470.