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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Visitor arrivals and spending see boost in March

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii's visitor industry got a boost in March with more visitors arriving up 9.3 percent statewide over last March and spending more as well, the Hawaii Tourism Authority reported today.

Total expenditures by visitors who came by air in March 2010 rose 12.7 percent from the same month last year to $874.2 million, boosted by increased arrivals and higher daily visitor spending, according to preliminary statistics released today.

For the first quarter of 2010, total spending by air visitors grew by $130.1 million to $2.7 billion, or 5 percent higher compared to year-to-date 2009.

Maui led the growth in visitor spending (up 25.2 percent, to $257.7 million), and arrivals (up 14.2 percent) lifted by new air service added in March 2010 to Maui from Edmonton, Calgary, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Jose and Sacramento as well as new routes to Maui that began in late 2009.

In total, there were 607,709 air and cruise visitors in March 2010, up 9.3 percent from last March. All top four visitor markets showed gains in arrivals by air compared to March 2009: Canada (up 17.3 percent), U.S. West (up 9.2 percent), U.S. East (up 7.9 percent) and Japan (up 6.5 percent).

In addition, first quarter 2010 results showed exceptional growth in visitor arrivals from other Asia a long-sought-out market(up 48.6 percent). In particular were big gains from Korea (up 90.8 percent) and China (up 23.4 percent), compared to first quarter 2009.

HTA president and CEO Mike McCartney welcomed the news of recovery from troubling times for tourism.

"Even with these positive indicators, we are mindful that we are coming off an especially depressed 2009, and it is important that we sustain momentum and these positive trends," he said.

McCartney noted that the state is now in the historically slower months of April and May.

"We cannot let up and must continue to work even harder to drive demand to fill the additional seats we have attracted into the market, and we need to pay attention to factors such as currency exchange rates and oil prices, which directly affect people's ability and decision to travel to Hawaii," he said.