Tourism rising

LIHUE — The number of tourists visiting Hawaii surged 9.3 percent in May compared to the same month last year as more travelers came to the islands from the U.S. mainland.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said Thursday more than 700,000 visitors traveled to the state in May, while visitor spending climbed 10.4 percent to $1.2 billion.

“Coming off of three record-breaking years for Hawaii’s visitor industry, the steady growth in expenditures is a positive sign that this year will be another successful one for tourism,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO, Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Kauai welcomed more visitors who were in a mood to spend money.

The island saw 98,728 guests in May, an increase of 7.3 percent over 92,103 for the same month last year, while total visitor days on Kauai was 712,528, a 6.2 percent increase from 670,701.

Visitors, who stayed an average 7.21 days, spent $136 million on Kauai in May, up 16.6 percent from the same month last year.

For the first five months of 2015, total arrivals to Hawaii — by air and by cruise ships — grew 4.1 percent to 3,508,098 visitors. Total visitor expenditures of $6.2 billion was 2 percent higher compared to year-to-date 2014.

Through May, Kauai has had 475,601 visitors, who have spent $669.3 million.

Szigeti says the tourism authority will continue focusing on distributing visitors around the state by encouraging direct flights to different islands. HTA will also highlight the unique attributes of each of the islands as visitors look for authentic experiences.

“We continue to work closely with all of our global marketing contractors on creative initiatives that will keep Hawaii top-of-mind and maintain the momentum of our tourism economy,” Szigeti said.

Travelers from the western region of the U.S. jumped 11.8 percent to more than 295,000. Visitors from Japan grew 3.6 percent to more than 112,000.

Total arrivals are 4.1 percent higher for the first five months of the year.

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