Big Island Sees Bigger Tourism

The island with the least visitor arrivals in Hawaii, the Big Island is actually seeing an increase in tourism in the past ten months, leading to a brighter economic future for 2013. Total visitor arrivals jumped up 14% from last October, with total spending increasing by 10.3% up to $128.9 million. Steve Lindburg, general manager of the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa states, “We are experiencing double-digit growth in terms of occupancy during the second half of 2012 over the first half, and we expect somewhere between 10% and 12% growth in terms of occupancy next year. “Plus we’re also seeing some solid performance in terms of average rate,” he said. “Things are definitely looking much healthier.”

The Big Island boasted the largest percentage-point occupancy boost, at 61.4% or 6.5 point increase. Percentage increase has lasted for five months straight. Three factors are attributed to this boost, says the executive director of Big Island Visitors Bureau, George Applegate. “Increased airlift is number one,” he explains. “Number two is: We’ve got strong numbers from the East Coast to our island thanks to easier access. And number three is the new branding by the HTA and the (Hawaii Visitors and Conventions Bureau), which really means a lot.”