Kauai Welcomed Over 1 Million Visitors in 2011

LĪHU’E – Tourism officials today released 2011 Hawai‘i visitor statistics that showed Kaua‘i having an increase over the previous year in every category.

“This is great news and points to a gradual economic recovery,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. “We will continue to proactively look for ways to support putting our people back to work in the visitor industry as well as other sectors on Kaua’i.”

The annual report by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority included the following Kaua’i highlights:

· Total arrivals surpassed one million – 1,015, 264 – which represents a 6.3 percent increase.
· Total expenditures jumped 18.9 percent.
· Amount spent per person per day saw a double-digit gain of 10.9 percent.
· Average length of stay went up .9 percent.

“I think we’re seeing the positive results of all the marketing campaigns that were launched by the Kaua’i Visitor’s Bureau in collaboration with the county over the last couple of years,” said George Costa, director of the Office of Economic Development. “We knew that if we started something, it would benefit us in the long run.”

He said that the big push began in 2010 with $1 million tourism stimulus package, which targeted the West Coast, Canada as well as kama‘āina.

Last year, the county spent $200,000 on several programs including: American Girl “Kanani” promotion; Kama‘āina campaign, which highlighted the Royal Coconut Coast resorts; Pirates of the Caribbean sweepstakes; Canada blitz; the Kaua’i Made and Kaua’i Marathon programs; as well as film promotions and press trips.

“The production of four movies also helped Kaua’i’s economy while they were filmed here – Soul Surfer, Just Go With It, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Descendents,” said Costa. “And as these films continue to get recognition, I think we’ll reap the benefits in the years to come.”

While KVB and the county have been instrumental in fuelling Kaua’i’s main economic engine, officials are aware of the potential impacts to the island, and recently implemented administrative rules governing county parks to ensure that the county’s recreational facilities are well-managed and protected for all to enjoy.
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