HAWAII SPEEDS UP IN RECOVERY MODE

Alec Hills - Feb 20, 2012
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Hawaii continues its recovery from the recession years and is experiencing a massive growth in incoming tourism and revenue.

If one were to compare last year’s figures with those of 2006 then the tourism industry of Hawaii would look rather depressing. The Pacific islands enjoyed peak revenue from tourism of $3.12 billion in 2006, making Honolulu an even happier place than the grass skirts and pineapple cocktails suggest. 

Then came disaster as the global recession put the brakes on tourism and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami last year halted the progress of an important and, relatively, nearby market.

However, figures from 2011 suggest that Hawaii is well on the road to recovery and the 2006 peak could be reached in the next few years.

Hawaii welcomed 7.3 million visitors in 2011, leading to revenue of $2.87 billion, which was 12.7% up on 2010. Occupancy rates in hotels, a vital criterion for measuring success in tourism, went from 70.7% to 73.4% over the same period, leaving Hawaii in the fourth place for hotel occupancy throughout the United States.

The Pacific islands came behind San Francisco, New York and Miami. There is, understandably, no shame in losing out to such hugely popular urban areas.

Whilst in recovery mode, Hawaii has many reasons to be optimistic about the future of its tourism industry. It seems to be shaking off the effects of the blow it received when the recession kicked in.

It has a massive advantage in that its islands are far from the mainland, meaning that visits automatically end up with overnight stays. This is why Hawaii is able to compete with other major US destinations in terms of hotel occupancy.

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