Coming off of three record-breaking years for Hawaii’s visitor industry, the steady growth in expenditures is a positive sign that this year will be another successful one for tourism. Year-to-date, visitor spending has contributed $121 million more into the state’s economy compared to last year, and state tax revenue reached $660 million, up 2 percent year-over-year.
For the first five months of 2015, visitor arrivals are up across the Hawaiian Islands compared to the same period last year. We continue to focus on distributing visitors statewide through increased direct air access, and highlighting the unique attributes of each of the islands as visitors look for authentic experiences.
Our meetings, conventions and incentives (MCI) market has also remained steady from January through May, boosted by an increase in incentives travelers from Japan. We anticipate the MCI market will continue to grow with the upcoming Lions Club International Convention next month that will bring more than 20,000 attendees and their families to the state.
While the depreciating Japanese yen and drop in outbound travel from Japan has been affecting our largest international market, the recent announcement of pre-clearance at Narita Airport will help to boost travel from the market to the neighbor islands. Coupled with Governor Ige’s recent trip to Japan to meet with the Prime Minister and key tourism stakeholders, we look forward to seeing growth from this mature market.
We continue to work closely with all of our global marketing contractors on creative initiatives that will keep Hawaii top-of-mind and maintain the momentum of our tourism economy. Next week, we will be providing our partners the opportunity to hear directly from our global contractors through our market update video series where they will be providing market updates, travel trend insights, and marketing opportunities for the second half of 2015.