With 2012 behind us, tourism throughout the State of Hawaii showed continued growth through the month of December and at year’s end. Both visitor arrivals and expenditures increased compared to this time last year for the month of December. As noted by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, visitor expenditures and arrivals grew during every month of the year for 2012. In addition, visitor spending and arrivals were the highest ever on record. These statistics close out 2012 as the most successful year that the State of Hawaii has ever witnessed.
The month of December, 2012 offered a nearly 15% growth in expenditures and an over 6% growth in arrivals compared to the same time frame last year. All four major Hawaiian Islands showed growth in both categories for the year as well. Developing markets such as Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Latin America also showed an increase of over 21% in arrivals for the year.
Honeymooner arrivals increased by almost 10% for the year as did cruise ship arrivals, offering an increase of more than 16% for the year as a whole. Scheduled air seats grew by 8.5% for the year and all four major islands had more scheduled flights. Hilo for example, had nearly 60% more scheduled seats than the year previous.
The Big Island had the largest growth in visitors compared to the other major island for the third month in a row. In addition, it offered more than a 20% growth in visitor expenditures for the month compared to December, 2011. Oahu had the next highest arrival total followed by Kaua’i and Maui.
Guest arrivals staying in condos rose by nearly 6% for the month of December and over 5% for the year. Domestic travelers were supporting the vacation rental market more so than international visitors. International visitors staying in condos for the month showed a slight decline but did finish strong with an over 8% increase for the year. The US West market supported the industry a bit more in accommodation selection than those from the US Eastern market. This is not surprising given the US West market offers more overall visitors. The US East market offered an 8.2% rise for the month and nearly 3% gain for the year. Its West coast counterpart showed over a 9% gain for the month with a nearly 6% gain for the year.
Moving into 2013, the tourism industry has shown continued growth from the previous year into the month of January, 2013. The islands have been extremely busy and continue to show signs of prosperity. Hopefully this growth will continue through the New Year and beyond, offering a bright future for the State of Hawaii, visitors and island residents alike.