Visitors spending rises

LIHUE — Visitors to Kauai are spending more money.

Lots more.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority reported Wednesday that guests on Kauai spent $154 million in February, a 19.9 percent increase over the same month last year.

Visitor spending for the first two months of the year on Kauai totals $340.5 million, a 21 percent increase over last year.

The island saw 93, 451 visitors in February, a 6.4 percent increase over last year. For the first two months of 2017, Kauai has had 192,765 visitors, up 5.4 percent from 2016.

HTA said visitors are not staying as long. The average length of stay on Kauai was 7.8 days in February, down 4.4 percent from February 2016.

Statewide, HTA said average daily spending by visitors jumped 11.5 percent last month compared to the year before.

The state agency said spending by travelers topped $47.8 million per day in February.

“We are thrilled with these results through the first two months of 2017, but are not taking this success for granted,” said George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO. “Intensive marketing and promotional efforts are continuing in our global markets to maintain Hawaii’s positive momentum.”

For the month, visitor spending rose 7.7 percent. But a comparison of monthly spending between the two years is misleading because there were 29 days in February in 2016 due to the leap year.

The agency says there were more than 230,000 visitors in Hawaii on any given day last month. That’s up nearly 6 percent from the number last year.

Contributing to the growth in visitor arrivals in February was a considerable increase by those who came by cruise ship, resulting in a gain of 8,583 visitors (or plus 178 percent to 13,404 visitors) versus last year.

Spending rose for visitors from the U.S. mainland, Japan and Canada. Travelers increased from the mainland and Japan but declined from Canada.

“What’s most impressive about February’s results is how strong daily visitor spending was from Hawaii’s four largest markets and how that overall impact was transferred to all islands statewide,” said Szigeti. “Double-digit growth in daily spending each from U.S. West, U.S. East, Japan, and Canada fueled an 11.5 percent increase in total spending statewide.”

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