Visitor spending to hit record
Hawaii is on track to finish the year with record visitor expenditures from the North American market, despite an overall slowing of visitor traffic in 2007.
"For an established destination, the growth has been amazing," John Monahan, president of the HVCB, said at the group's annual luncheon yesterday. The organization is responsible for marketing the islands to North American business and leisure travelers.
From 2002 to 2006, visitor expenditures from North America have increased 36 percent to contribute an additional $2.4 billion in spending, Monahan said, and arrivals from the meetings, convention and incentive market have increased 33 percent. However, overall North American arrivals are running below the record levels they attained in 2006, he said.
Competition from other destinations as well as Hawaii's aging infrastructure have created challenges for the visitor industry, Monahan said.
"Many years Hawaii has enjoyed an enviable position atop the heap of global tropical destinations," Monahan said. "However, our competitors have not been standing still. They have been consistently upgrading, improving and aggressively marketing their product and at an accelerated pace in recent years."
In the coming year, Hawaii will face a bigger competitive challenge from renewed and emerging destinations, and it will take creative and aggressive marketing to stay foremost in visitors' minds, Monahan said.