Visitors spend over $1 billion

Visitor spending on Kaua’i for the first 11 months of last year was $1.1 billion, up 8.3 percent from the same period in 2004, according to officials with the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT).

And, fueled by double-digit-percentage growth in total arrivals, U.S. West (west of the Rocky Mountains) and U.S. East (east of the Rocky Mountains) arrivals, Kaua’i led the state in percentage increases in both total visitors, and numbers of visitors who chose to stay on only one island.

Kauaians welcomed 92,208 visitors in November 2005, up 26.6 percent from 72,854 in November 2004, with nearly half (46.5 percent) of all those visitors, or 42,879, being Kaua’i-only visitors (those who stayed on Kaua’i and nowhere else in Hawai’i).

The number of Kaua’i-only visitors in November was up 35.9 percent compared to the same month in 2004.

For the first 11 months of last year, Kauaians greeted 996,360 visitors, up 6.1 percent from the 939,331 visitors who came for the first 11 months in 2004. Of the 996,360 visitors for the first 11 months last year, 424,898 of them, or 42.6 percent of the total, were Kaua’i-only visitors.

The number of Kaua’i-only visitors for the first 11 months of 2005 was up 4.2 percent from the same period in 2004, according to the DBEDT figures.

Residents saw double-digit growth in domestic-visitor-arrival figures both for November and Kaua’i-only visitors, and it makes sense also that there was double-digit-percentage growth in both numbers of U.S. West and U.S. East visitors.

The number of U.S. West visitors to Kaua’i in November of last year was up almost 31 percent, as was the number of U.S. West visitors who chose to stay only on Kaua’i. There were 48,063 U.S. West visitors in November 2005, up from 36,729 for the same month in 2004.

Nearly 65 percent of all U.S. West visitors to Kaua’i chose to stay only on Kaua’i in November of last year.

For the first 11 months of last year, there were 486,456 U.S. West visitors to Kaua’i, up 8.4 percent from the same period in 2004, and over 60 percent of those U.S. West visitors to Kaua’i chose to stay only on Kaua’i.

The number of U.S. East visitors to Kaua’i in November of last year, 29,321, was up 21.8 percent compared to the same month in 2004, and since the U.S. East visitors are more likely to be first-time visitors and also visit other islands, fewer than one-third of them stayed only on Kaua’i.

Still, the number of U.S. East visitors who chose to stay on Kaua’i only in November of last year, 9,258, was up 41.9 percent compared to the same month in 2004.

For the first 11 months of last year, there were 367,558 U.S. East visitors to Kaua’i, up 8.5 percent compared to the same period in 2004, and of those 2005 U.S. East visitors to Kaua’i over the first 11 months, just over 27.5 percent of them chose to stay only on Kaua’i.

Numbers of Japanese visitors to Kaua’i were down in both November of last year and for the year to date in 2005, compared to the same periods in 2004, but the number of Japanese visitors who chose to stay only on Kaua’i in November of last year, 261, was up 235.3 percent compared to the same month in 2004.

The numbers of Canadian visitors to Kaua’i were up in November of 2005 compared to the same month in 2004, but down in terms of Kaua’i-only numbers for both the month and year to date, and total Canadian arrivals to Kaua’i for the first 11 months of 2005 compared to the same period in 2004.

Still, residents likely saw well over one million visitors during calendar 2005. The December and total-2005 numbers won’t be tallied until later this month.

Numbers of cruise-ship visitors to Kaua’i increased for both November and the first 11 months of last year, compared to similar 2004 periods.

The overall Hawai’i visitor-arrival figures for November showed record growth, according to a DBEDT spokesperson.

Statewide, some 562,243 visitors came to Hawai’i in November of last year, up 6.5 percent compared to the same month in 2004, with the average visitor staying over 8.5 days, and spending over $183 per day, all increases compared to the same month in 2004.

For the first 11 months of last year, state residents greeted 6,729,129 visitors, up 6.9 percent compared to 6,295,485 over the same period in 2004.

“We are thrilled by the continued resurgence of our visitor industry,” said State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert.

“Among the highlights for the month was an 11.4-percent increase in honeymoon visitors in the islands,” she said.

“Visitors who attended conventions in Hawai’i were also up 84.1 percent, thanks largely to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans 2005 convention, which brought 7,144 delegates to the state,” said Wienert, who is scheduled to leave this week for the Philippines with Gov. Linda Lingle, Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste, and other elected and appointed officials, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Filipino contract workers for the sugar plantations.

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