Visitors to Maui so far this year have spent more than $2.9 billion on the island, representing a 19 percent increase over last year's January-to-October period, according to data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Maui saw double-digit increases in overall spending and per-person daily spending year to date despite modest growth in arrivals.
Arrivals to Maui in October were up 5.4 percent to 177,174, and up by 5.6 percent through the first 10 months of the year to 1.9 million visitors.
Diane and Erik Seiler of Dresden, Germany, pause for a kiss while watching Wednesday’s sunset from Olowalu Landing. Vog, or volcanic smog, pumped into the air by the Big Island’s Kilauea volcano has added plenty of color to recent sunsets. “It’s the most beautiful sunset we have ever seen,” said Diane Seiler. Visitor spending on Maui in October was up 13 percent to $269 million compared with the same month last year, according to data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Meanwhile, visitor spending in October was up 13 percent to $269 million. Daily spending per person for the month amounted to $188 - a 6 percent hike. Year to date, per-person daily spending on Maui was up 13 percent to $196.
Of the 1.9 million visitors to Maui so far this year, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said 62 percent stayed exclusively on Maui.
Maui saw an increase in arrivals last month from the U.S. West market (up 13 percent), which helped offset fewer arrivals from Canada (down 5 percent) and Japan (down 8 percent). Arrivals from the East Coast were flat.
Statewide, total visitor expenditures in October were up nearly 13 percent to $1.1 billion, and up 19 percent during the first 10 months of the year to $11.8 billion.
Total arrivals for the January-to-October period rose 9.5 percent to 6,613,948 visitors statewide.
"As tourism continues to stimulate Hawaii's economy, the HTA is optimistic that this positive momentum will continue through the rest of the year, and will lead us to exceed our aggressive 2012 statewide targets of 7.89 million total visitor arrivals and $13.9 billion in total expenditures," HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney said in a statement.
Until now, 7.6 million was the greatest number of visitors that ever came in Hawaii in one year. That record was marked in 2006. The all-time high for spending was $12.8 billion, reached in 2007.
"As a result of building stronger price positioning for Hawaii's product offerings, visitor spending in October 2012 continued to show significant growth," McCartney said. "These increases in spending helped to balance the slower growth in visitor arrivals in October, which can be attributed to the historic trend of yielding travel prior to a presidential election."
Statewide, travelers from Hawaii's biggest market - the West Coast - increased 9.6 percent in the month to 255,602. The gains came as the number of seats on scheduled flights to Hawaii grew 7.4 percent.
The HTA said service increased from cities including Los Angeles and Las Vegas, which offset declines in service from San Francisco and Portland.
The number of Japanese travelers surged 15.2 percent to 125,742 visitors. These gains accompanied a 16.5 percent jump in the number of seats to Hawaii from Japan as airlines added direct flights from Honolulu to Fukuoka and Sapporo and increased service from Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo's Narita airport.
The tourism authority said it was working with marketing and industry partners to drive travel to the Neighbor Islands.
The Big Island led all islands in visitor growth during October with a 14.1 percent increase, while Oahu saw a 7.6 percent growth and Kauai welcomed 2.7 percent more visitors.