Tourism in Hawaii continued to be a major driver for the state’s economic recovery in 2013, surpassing records set the previous year. Visitor spending reached $14.5 billion (an increase of 2 percent from $14.3 billion) contributing $1.5 billion in state tax revenue, and 8,235,510 visitors (an increase of 2.6 percent from 8 million) came to the Hawaiian Islands in 2013 according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).
“While our core U.S. market remained strong, there were significant increases in arrivals and spending from the growing Other Asia (China, Korea and Taiwan) and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) markets,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the HTA. “Supported by double-digit increases in air seats to the Hawaiian Islands from these two regions, we will continue to focus our efforts on these developing markets with tremendous growth potential.”
Gains in visitor expenditures and arrivals during the first half of 2013 offset the weaker performance in the latter half of the year. International arrivals through 2013 also helped to maintain the momentum experienced through the year. Despite the gains in arrivals and spending in 2013, the HTA fell short of targets of $15.3 billion in visitor expenditures and 8.48 million visitor arrivals. Fluctuations in currency exchange rates, tax and fuel charges have impacted growth and caused the leveling off during the second half of the year. The HTA anticipates this trend to continue during the first half of 2014.
“We will work with our global marketing partners to review and adjust our plans to stimulate the market in light of current economic and global trends. It is also important that we continue to work with our industry partners to balance the needs of our community while strengthening our tourism economy in 2014,” added McCartney.
Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, www.hawaiitourismauthority.org