Visitor Spending Strong This Summer but Arrivals Lag

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As we near the end of the summer tourism season, indicators show visitor spending is strong but that there’s a nagging dip in visitor arrivals. 

The figures aren't yet in for July, but the Hawaii Tourism Authority reports visitor spending was up 13 percent in June to a billion dollars. Overall visitor arrivals were down three percent.

Carl Bonham of the University of Hawaii's Economic Research Organization says visitor spending is the most important indicator in tourism.

But he says continuing uncertainty in the U.S. economy may cause a decline in mainland visitors to persist through fall.

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HTA reports West Coast arrivals were down 3.4 percent in June … after 15 months of increases. Arrivals from the East Coast were down 6.9 percent, the biggest drop since early 2010. 

Meanwhile, Japanese arrivals continue to be affected by the earthquake and tsunami disasters and Bonham says the numbers may never fully recover. Arrivals in June were down 16 percent from a year earlier.

An indicator to watch as the summer continues is visitors from Canada. In June, those arrivals were up … nearly 20 percent from a year earlier.

Bonham calls Canadians the “energizer bunny” of visitors.

(Aileen Humphreys / HPR News)