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Hawaii’s still got it: Tourism rebounds in 2012 with 8 million visitors

@SamShankman

Jan 24, 2013 1:56 pm

Skift Take

The success of 2012 will boost the industry in the coming year with hotel chains, real estate companies, and airlines trying to take part in Hawaii’s return to the top.

— Samantha Shankman

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Hawaii experienced its most successful tourism year on record in 2012, reports the Hawaii Tourism Authority today.

A record 7,998,815 visitors came upon its sandy shores, a 9.6 percent increase over 2011.

The nearly 8 million tourists spent $39 million per day, increased state tax revenues to $1.58 billion, and supported 167,000 jobs.

This is a huge improvement that’s been in the works since 2009 when the state experienced a lull in tourism numbers. Over the past three years, daily visitor spending has increased by $12 million, state tax revenue increased by $650 million, and 34,000 new jobs were created.

The state’s relationship with U.S. was a great tool in strengthening the sector, and it’s literal location put it in the perfect position to benefit from the burgeoning tourism market in China and Japan. The greatest increase in visitors and in total visitor spending came from the east and west coasts of the U.S.,  Japan, and Canada.

The state says it growth efforts focused on expanding marketing and flight routes to the Asia-Pacific region, which resulted in a significant influx of international visitors from Japan, China, Korea, and Australia.

Hawaii’s cruise industry also boosted arrival numbers with a total of 283,293 visitors coming by cruise ships or by air to board a cruise ship. This is a 16.1 percent increase over 2011.

Looking forward

The islands’ 2013 target for tourism is 8.2 million visitors and $14.88 billion in visitor spending. It is looking to expand its branding as meetings and convention destination as well as increase direct flights to its strongest markets in the U.S. and Asia.

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