More Hawai‘i visitors are choosing Kaua‘i

LIHU‘E — Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s report for April indicates Kaua‘i is experiencing an ongoing trend of positive tourism growth.

Canada arrivals to Kaua‘i continue to rise, with an increase of 22 percent for the month. Year to date, arrivals from Canada have increased 32 percent compared to April last year.

“(Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau) will be taking a team of industry partners back to Canada in the fall to reinforce our message of Kaua‘i and get the message out about WestJet’s service from Vancouver to Lihu‘e,” KVB Executive Director Sue Kanoho said. 

U.S. West arrivals for the month of April were up 15 percent and have increased 5 percent year to date. More importantly, Kanoho said, U.S. West visitors who stayed only on Kaua‘i were up by 20 percent. 

“We believe the Alaska Airlines’ San Jose and Oakland flights have helped strengthen the U.S. West arrivals,” she said.

U.S. East arrivals were up 1 percent for April, and year to date is up 7 percent, “which is good news that Kaua‘i is moving the needle on the East Coast visitors coming to the island,” she said. “We will be in Atlanta and Dallas in July and Chicago in October to try and generate more interest in Kaua‘i as a vacation destination.”

Japan arrivals to Kaua‘i fell 6 percent, but the decline was expected given the country’s devastating earthquakes and tsunamis last March. Year to date, Japanese visitors to Kaua‘i have increased 3 percent.

Per person, per day expenditures for Kaua‘i visitors rose 17 percent to $164 for April, which Kanoho said “shows promise for our recovery.”

However, HTA does not take into account inflation when calculating visitor spending levels. 

Total meetings, conventions and incentives visitors increased 49 percent across the state for the month of April, indicating that the business side of tourism may be making a comeback after a very strong drop following the Great Recession.

“This segment of the market will be further lifted when (the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) comes to Hawai‘i in November,” she said.

“KVB is heading back to Los Angeles for promotions in mid June, while they welcome their second American Girl-focused press trip next week where a writer will be coming with their child and experiencing Kaua‘i through the eyes of (fictional character) Kanani Akina as told in the American Girl book ‘Aloha Kanani,’ as well as other Kaua‘i activities,” Kanoho said.

• Vanessa Van Voorhis, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 251) or by emailing vvanvoorhis@thegardenisland.com.

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