Hawaii Tourism Authority president and CEO Mike McCartney issued the following statement regarding Hawaii’s November 2009 visitor data.
“As we anticipated, arrivals during November, historically a slow month for tourism, were slightly down. However, the good news is that we are continuing to trend ahead of and gain market share from some of our main competitors for our North America market including Mexico and the Caribbean.
“According to market research data released as a result of monitoring the blitzes conducted in North America, Hawaii has seen positive market share growth improvement over its competitive set over the same period last year, thus indicating a continued domestic demand for a Hawaii vacation despite the recession.
“The Japan market, one of our higher spending markets, is up for the third consecutive month. We are also projecting strong December numbers from Japan with visitors in Hawaii for the Honolulu Marathon and the Oshogatsu (New Year) holiday. As a result of the demand, Delta has already indicated they’ll be upgauging their aircraft and thereby increasing seat inventory by approximately 200 seats a day from Japan to Honolulu, effective February 2010.
“Another notable boost is from the Korea market where we have seen an increase of 13,422 arrivals over 2008 from January through November.
“In other good news, for 2010, Hawaii will have 497,000 new air seats from new routes from North America. Although the state has not fully recovered from the loss of seats due to the closure of ATA and Aloha Airlines, these numbers bring hope and optimism to our industry.
“The HTA, along with our marketing partners and the state administration, have diligently worked together to add to the overall number of seats and flights to Hawaii. We worked on developing a strategy to strengthen our partnerships with air carriers and better align our efforts to create demand that will lead to better load factors and ultimately improve yield.
“In the next few months, Hawaii will also receive extensive national television exposure through HTA’s sporting events program with the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, and PGA tour events.
“An added bonus is having President Obama and the First Family home for a holiday vacation. This will provide significant worldwide news and media coverage for Hawaii.”