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Growth in every month of the year elevated Hawaii's annual 2012 total visitor expenditures to a record $14.3 billion, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA). A record 7,998,815 visitors came to the state in 2012, exceeding the previous high of 7,628,118 visitors in 2006.
"I am proud of how our visitor industry has worked together since 2009 (when Hawaii hit a low in daily visitor spending, state tax revenue and jobs) to help make this happen," said HTA president Mike McCartney."The impressive returns are a direct result of all of the involved, from the HTA board, staff, marketing partners, industry and community coming together to achieve this record."
Hawaii strengthened its tourism promotion efforts in 2012 by focusing on marketing programs that drive travel demand, visitor arrivals and spending, said McCartney. Through an additional $2 million in legislative funding for international markets and new flights from the Asia-Pacific region, it was able to further leverage its marketing efforts in international markets such as Japan, China, Korea and Australia, which significantly contributed to the growth in 2012.
"We continue to place a priority on direct air access and distributing visitors across the state," said McCartney. "This includes monitoring new flights from the east coast as well as those originating from Oakland, San Jose and San Diego. Airlift is central not only to tourism's prosperity, but toward creating greater opportunities for other industries to expand and succeed, further diversifying Hawaii's economy."
The state also has the opportunity to expand its meetings, conventions and incentives market in the upcoming years, said McCartney.