The Hawaii Tourism Authority has revalidated the data for the monthly visitor statistics report for 2013 and January through May 2014, according to HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney.
This was done as part of the HTA's normal process of refining data from the previous year. It was also necessary due to a complaint that an employee of one of HTA's research contractors may have submitted invalid survey data.
The data in question has resulted in an adjustment to visitor expenditures on the island of Maui between June 2013 and May 2014, which prompted adjustments to statewide visitor spending.
This matter is currently under review by the State Attorney General's office, the HTA, as well as the HTA's contractor.
"The delayed release of the May 2014 visitor statistics report allowed us to gather input and collaborate with other research firms to ensure the accuracy of the data and we are confident that the numbers released are valid," said McCartney. "On behalf of the HTA, I appreciate the public's patience as we verified the data and apologize for the delay in releasing the May 2014 monthly visitor statistics."
McCartney says visitor spending appears to be trending up for 2014. During the first five months of this year, expenditures increased three percent to $6.1 billion or $174 million more into the state's economy. That equates to $19 million more in state tax revenue for the year so far.
"And we anticipate a strong summer season for Hawaii's tourism economy supported by increased air seat inventory through September," said McCartney. "While the neighbor islands are faring well, we would like to see greater distribution across all of the Hawaiian Islands to help balance the growth of our tourism economy. This will help us to ensure the long-term sustainability of our industry, where there is the capacity to accommodate visitors."
On Aug. 28-29, 2014, the HTA will be hosting its annual Hawaii Tourism Conference at the Hawaii Convention Center where stakeholders can learn about HTA contractors marketing plans for 2015 and hear from industry experts on trends and ways to help the momentum of Hawaii's tourism economy.