2012 was the best year on record for Hawaii's tourism economy, according to Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney.
Annual arrivals reached a record 7,998,815 visitors in 2012, breaking the previous record of 7,628,118 visitors in 2006.
Total visitor spending also got a record $14.3 billion in 2012.
"We could not have achieved this momentous year without the hard work and dedication of the people that support our industry -- from the bellmen, store keepers and flight attendants to the legislature, business community and residents -- we all came together to help Hawaii," said McCartney. "Through the aloha spirit of our people, we have made Hawaii a globally competitive destination during challenging economic times and paved the way for us to grow Hawaii’s market share."
In the month of December, total visitor expenditures rose 14.9 percent, or $184.6 million to $1.4 billion, boosted by higher daily spending, up 9.4 percent to $194 per person, and a 6.3 percent growth in total arrivals to 733,709 visitors.
The following are more annual highlights in 2012:
- There were strong increases in total visitor expenditures from U.S. West (+12.2% to $4.6 billion), U.S. East (+9.9% to $3.4 billion), Japan (+21.7% to $2.6 billion), Canada (+9.8% to $995 million) and All Other markets (+50.7% to $2.6 billion).
- Arrivals among the top visitor markets exceeded 2011: U.S. West (+6.7% to 3,194,975), U.S. East (+3.5% to 1,699,124), Japan (+17% to 1,452,563) and Canada (+4.3% to 498,241).
- A total of 992,291 visitors arrived from developing markets, up 21.3 percent from 2011.
- Total visitor expenditures and arrivals by air for the four larger Hawaiian Islands increased from 2011: Oahu (+18.7% to $7.4 billion; +11.1% to 4,891,540); Maui (+18.8% to $3.6 billion; +5.9% to 2,295,867); Hawaii Island (+17.7% to $1.7 billion; +8.8% to 1,434,271); and Kauai (+20.1% to $1.4 billion; +7.3% to 1,084,868).
- A total of 283,293 visitors came by cruise ship or by air to board cruise ships, up 16.1 percent compared to 2011. Visitor days for all cruise ship visitors rose 7.5 percent from the previous year.