Hawaii Visitor Growth Year After Year
Via the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), their findings announced record highs for Hawaii in 2016! Visitor totals rose 3% to 9 million visitors, corresponding with a 4.2% increase in spending to a new high of $15.6 billion.
The $15.6 billion spent added $1.82 billion in state tax revenue. Hotels added 8.6% more jobs than 2015, occupations geared towards tourism represented 190,000 jobs.
George Szigeti, HTA’s president and CEO, stated:
“We are committed to maintaining this positive momentum in 2017, while also assessing as to how HTA can collaborate with industry partners and community advocates to ensure that promoting tourism is balanced with the perpetuation of Hawaiian culture and protection of Hawaii’s natural resources.”
Visitors from the West Coast were Hawaii’s largest tourism market, the number of visitors increased 4.3 percent to 3.7 million visitors, with West Coast spending increasing 6.2% t to $5.6 billion.
Visitors from the U.S. East increased 3.7 percent to 1.9 million visitors in 2016, while visitor spending increased 4.6 percent to $3.8 billion.
Maui Tourism by the Numbers
According to the recent Hawai’i Tourism Authority report released a few weeks ago, the data indicates roughly 100,000 more visitors came to Maui in 2016 than in 2015; in other words, arrivals went up 3.9% to 2.6 million, while spending surged 8.4% to $4.5 billion in 2016.
Sherry Duong, Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau executive director, stated the Maui people are who we have to thank as they“go out of their way” to give travelers an experience that makes them want to return. Nearly 70% of the arrivals were repeat visitors.
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A leading contributor to the growth in visitor numbers are the increase in supply of airline seats to Maui. New direct flights by Virgin America beginning in late 2015, was a major contributor to the rise in visitors, said Duong. The report showed a 2.8% annual increase in airline seats to Kahului Airport in 2016.
Forecasts for the current year show continued growth, Duong said. “I would love to see another record year,” she said, noting that 2017 would be her first full year as executive director. She took over from longtime Executive Director Terryl Vencl in July. The industry may be able to accommodate growing numbers, but there are issues with infrastructure on the island. She cited the slow traffic on the pali as an example.
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