Yes, 2005 really was a record year for tourism
7.39 million visitors spent time here last year, and $11.5 billion
A strong showing in December pushed Hawaii's visitor industry to a peak year-end finish -- 7.39 million visitors visited the islands last year and spent $11.5 billion -- the best-ever results for state tourism.
There were 650,506 visitors who traveled to Hawaii in December, a 5.5 percent gain from a year earlier, according to numbers released yesterday. That set a new arrivals benchmark for the month and helped push 2005 arrivals to a spectacular finish. An increase in time spent in the islands helped boost visitor spending. For the year, average daily spending rose to $172 per person, up from $170a year ago.
Passing the 7 million mark was a milestone for Hawaii's visitor industry, which saw record growth from its domestic market and increases from Japan and Canada last year, said state tourism liaison Marsha Wienert.
Most of the visitors who came to Hawaii last year traveled from the U.S. West, a region which posted 7.9 percent growth to hit 2.98 million arrivals. Total spending by U.S. West visitors grew 9.3 percent from the previous year to $4.3 billion, the highest among the four major visitor markets. The average daily spending was $150 per person.
The higher-spending U.S. East market, however, rose 5.6 percent to reach 1.9 million arrivals for the year. U.S. East visitors, who ranked second in total visitor spending in 2005, spent $3.5 billion, which was 9.5 percent higher than in 2004. This group of visitors spent an average of $178 per person per day, the second highest among the top four visitor markets.
Though 2005 tourism in Hawaii was dominated by the domestic market, the Japan market, which had been steadily declining for the past several years, posted a gain of 2.7 percent to reach 1.5 million arrivals. Total visitor spending by Japanese visitors of $2.2 billion was virtually unchanged from 2004. While ranking third in total expenditures, Japanese visitors spent the most on a daily basis at $249 per person.
The return of the snowbird market caused the Canadian visitor traffic to rise 12.2 percent to 243,567 visitors. Other international markets such as Australia, Europe, Oceania and Latin America rose 12.7 percent to 720,733 visitors. Total expenditures and average daily spending by Canadian visitors ranked fourth among the top four major visitor markets at $420.5 million and $130 per person, respectively.
For the year, all islands saw increases in arrivals. All islands with the exception of Lanai, which showed a drop in December arrivals, also posted gains in total expenditures.