Tourism numbers on the riseUPDATED 12:43 AM HST Sep 27, 2013Video Transcript
August was an up-and-down month for Hawaii's tourism industry. Overall arrivals and spending were up, despite a drop in numbers from some of the island's biggest tourism markets. KITV4's Justin Fujioka explains in our top story at 10-30. More people visited the islands last month than the same time last year. Overall arrivals for August are up 2-and-a-half percent compared to 2012. It's the 48th straight month of growth. Total spending is up nearly a percent. However, air arrivals from the U-S West are down 1-point-3 percent and visitors from the region are spending 1- point-7 percent less ... as other destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean step up their competition. Mike McCartney: "THEY ARE OUTSPENDING US. THEY ARE WORKING HARD TO TAKE IN THE VISITORS THAT WE HAVE TO THOSE DESTINATIONS." Year to date though, U-S West arrivals and spending are up from 2012. But Japanese are spending more than ten-percent less because of a weaker Yen. An uncontrollable variable that the Hawaii Tourism Authority says is evidence that we need to reach out to new areas. Mike McCartney: "WE'VE BEEN WORKING VERY, VERY HARD TO DIVERSIFY OUR MARKETS TO LOOK AT NEW PORTS OF DEPARTURE FROM ASIA AND TO MAKE SURE THAT HAWAII'S VISITOR PORTFOLIO IS VERY BALANCED." A balance that helped keep last month's numbers in the positive, despite the U-S West losses... through big increases from the U-S East, Australia, New Zealand and Korea. And McCartney is looking to strengthen that balance with new non-stop flights to and from Beijing beginning in April. Mike McCartney: "CHINESE VISITORS SPEND ALMOST 400 DOLLARS PER PERSON, PER DAY. SO THOSE DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM BEIJING I THINK WILL HELP HAWAII TREMENDOUSLY AS WE GO FORWARD." Justin Fujioka, KITV4 News.