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Visitor spending continues climb

LIHUE — Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands spent a total of $1.29 billion in November, an increase of 4.5 percent compared to a year ago, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Total visitor arrivals grew 7.3 percent to 748,303 visitors.

“With December being historically a peak month for travel to Hawaii, the state’s tourism industry is poised to surpass all annual records for visitor spending, generated state tax revenue and visitor arrivals when the year-end statistics for 2017 are issued the end of January,” said George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO .

Kauai saw 95,900 visitors in November, an increase of 9.8 percent over November 2016. Through the first 11 months of 2017, Kauai has had 1.16 million visitors, a 7.5 percent increase over the same time frame last year.

Visitor spending on Kauai totaled $127.5 million in November, an increase of 10.6 percent over November 2016. For the year through November, visitor spending totaled $1.66 billion, a 9.6 percent increase from the first 11 months of 2016.

All four larger Hawaiian Islands saw growth in visitor spending and arrivals in November compared to last year.

It has been, Szegeti said, a banner year so far.

“We are in the closing days of what has been an extraordinary year for Hawaii’s tourism industry and continued success is promising as we begin a new year,” he added. “Within the last two weeks, four carriers – Virgin America, Scoot, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines – have either launched new routes or significantly expanded existing service to Hawaii. In the next few months, Hawaiian Airlines will be launching daily service on four routes between the mainland and neighbor islands.”

Szegeti pointed to strong travel demand from North America, Asia and Oceania that translated into an excellent month for the state’s tourism industry in November.

Visitor spending in November pushed the state’s total through 11 months to $15.15 billion, which exceeds every full-year total up to 2016, HTA said. State tax revenue generated by the tourism industry has risen to $1.77 billion, which is $109.5 million more than a year ago at this time.

Some other highlights for visitor spending in November:

• U.S. West market rose (plus 8.7 percent to $500.9 million).

• The U.S. East market reported a gain (plus 5.2 percent to $266 million).

• The Japan market saw a decrease (down 6.2 percent to $183.3 million).

• There was strong growth from the Canada market (plus 11.5 percent to $96.4 million).

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