They’re showing us the money

Visitors to Kauai are in the mood to spend money. Lots of money.

Through the first nine months of the year, visitors spent around $1.1 billion on The Garden Isle, a 5.8 percent increase over the same time frame last year. And that was despite fewer people — 844,814, a drop of 1.1 percent from 2013 — coming to Kauai through September.

“For the first three quarters of 2014, visitor spending and arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands continued to be slightly ahead of our record pace in 2012 and 2013,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “While we are just shy of our targets, we are optimistic that 2014 will be another record-breaking year for Hawaii’s tourism economy.”

He said Kauai continues to experience significant growth in total expenditures, boosted by higher daily spending, up 5.2 percent to $171.1 per person, and a slightly longer length of stay, up 1.6 percent to 7.72 days, through the first nine months of 2014.

September was a good month for travel to Hawaii. Air capacity rose 5.6 percent to 863,609 total seats. Seats to Lihue rose to 44,475, a 10.7 percent increase compared to last September.

Visitor expenditures on Kauai increased 11.4 percent to $104.2 million last month. Arrivals fell 3.5 percent to 81,130 visitors. However, their average daily spending of $180 per person was 16.1 percent higher than last September.

McCarthy said more than $40 million is infused into the state’s economy each day thanks to an average of 23,000 visitors who arrive on the islands each day and spend an average of $196 per person per day.

This has resulted in 6.2 million visitor arrivals and $11.1 billion in total expenditures.

“Despite external challenges including increased competition from other destinations, fluctuating currency exchange rates and fuel surcharges, as well as unstable economic conditions, we continue to maintain the positive momentum experienced over the last two years,” he said.

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