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Tourism yields robust August results

Updated: 
September 29, 2017 - 8:27pm

HONOLULU — Hawaii tourism continued its blistering pace in August with solid year-over-year gains in monthly visitor arrivals and spending across all four major islands.

Some 818,581 visitors traveled to Hawaii in August, a nearly 5 percent increase from August 2016, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA). Spending by these visitors rose just over 6 percent to nearly $1.4 billion.

The monthly gains ended the summer peak season on a high note and contributed to robust year-to-date results. Through the first eight months of the year, Hawaii welcomed 6.3 million visitors, who spent just over $11.3 billion. Year-t0-date arrivals were up nearly 5 percent and year-to-date spending was up nearly 9 percent from same period in 2015. Through August, tourism generated $1.3 billion in state tax revenue.

George Szigeti, HTA president and CEO, acknowledged that tourism has been on a tear.

“By comparison, when Hawaii was starting to emerge from the Great Recession in 2010, the tourism industry realized $11.01 billion in total visitor spending and generated $1.05 billion in state tax revenue for the entire year. With four months to go in 2017, our tourism industry has already surpassed both of the full-year totals from just seven years ago,” he said in a statement.

Szigeti said as the industry grows, it must be mindful of “seeking sustainable solutions that perpetuate culture, preserve natural resources and supports the quality of life we all want.”

He also cautioned that tourism is fragile.

“The natural disasters that struck Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands these past few weeks remind us again that we can never take tourism in Hawaii for granted, and that our state’s future well-being could be suddenly altered,” he said.

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