Visitor industry on record pace

Despite a continuing decline in the number of visitors from Japan, Hawaii still saw an increase in its overall visitor count in June thanks to strong growth in travelers from the U.S. and Canada, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT). In fact, Hawaii’s visitor industry is moving at record pace, with overall visitor spending up by over 8 percent, hitting $1.1 billion for the month. “For each of the past three months we have realized positive growth in total visitor days and expenditures,” said State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert. “The domestic market continues to perform above expectations.”

The latest DBEDT report, released Monday, shows that Japanese arrivals have fallen over 8 percent so far this year compared to last year, and the number of days they spend here has dropped by 10 percent. But arrivals from the U.S. and Canada are up by 4.6 percent during the same period, including a 12.1 percent increase from Canada specifically. Canadian visitors also spent the most per trip in the first half of 2006 ($1,829 per person), followed by visitors from the U.S. East ($1,822 per person), Japan ($1,502 per person) and the U.S. West ($1,445 per person).

Visitors have spent a total of $5.8 billion so far this year, up 7 percent compared to the same period last year.

Hawaii’s recently rejuvenated cruise ship industry is also a bright spot, with the number of visitors up by nearly 40 percent this year so far compared to 2005.

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