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End of Year Message from Mike McCartney


On behalf of the Hawaii Tourism Authority board of directors and staff, we would like to wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.

This year has been one of uneven recovery for Hawaii’s tourism economy. 2011 started off strong with visitor spending, surpassing peak year levels of 2007. However, when the earthquake and resulting tsunami struck Japan on March 11, the HTA had to refocus its efforts and immediately implement a recovery plan to compensate for losses in the Japan market. Through the collective efforts of our marketing and industry partners and staff, Hawaii’s visitor industry continued to persevere.  We experienced gains from our diversified markets, especially Korea, China, Australia and Canada, and the Japan market also proved to rebound faster than originally expected. Visitor spending from nearly all markets continued to climb, and we are close to meeting the $12.6 billion visitor expenditure target we revised upward in May of this year. To view these statistics in more detail, please go to page 29 of the HTA’s 2012 Marketing Plan Rollout.

Airlift was a critical component of recovery and success for our visitor industry. In 2011, Hawaii welcomed its first direct flight from China, as well as new routes from U.S. West, Australia, Korea and Japan including new, direct service to Hilo, Kauai and Maui. Hawaiian Airlines also expanded its inter-island fleet with the addition of three new aircraft. The new and existing flights are all important to our local economy, and will further increase distribution and economic benefits across the entire state.  To view these statistics in more detail, please go to page 15 of the HTA’s 2012 Marketing Plan Rollout.

Hawaii’s visitor industry continues to be the largest generator of jobs among the major industry sectors and is anticipated to provide 159,542 related jobs by the end of 2011. Tourism continues to be the largest single source of private capital into Hawaii, contributing $1.04 billion in tax revenue in 2010, as well as opportunities for increased commerce and avenues for diversified economic development.

Islands Already See Positive Results from APEC
This year, we were honored to welcome leaders from 21 world economies, including President Barack Obama, for the  APEC 2011 Leaders’ Meeting in November, providing Hawaii with an outstanding opportunity to promote our state as a world-class meetings destination and showcase the aloha spirit of our people and beauty of our islands. We were extremely pleased to have President Obama affirm the summit a success, and look forward to building on the interest in our state as a place with the capacity and capabilities to host events of this caliber and significance.

APEC was a collective effort for long term collective benefit, and our islands are already seeing the positive impact hosting these meetings has had. Early indicators show increases in revenue and occupancy from a year ago during the six-day conference. Waikiki hotels generated total estimated revenues of $37.7 million, a 30 percent increase over the same period last year. Neighbor islands also experienced a bump, seeing carryover business following the meetings.

During APEC Leaders Week, approximately 1,200 media covered the summit, placing Hawaii in a global spotlight and showcasing our  Hawaiian Islands as both a wonderful place to visit, and a great place to conduct business. This sentiment was reflected during a speech at a reception for APEC leaders that was hosted by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. During his remarks, the president said that he, “could not imagine a more fitting place than my home state of Hawaii. Here we are literally in the center of the Pacific. Here we’re reminded of the progress that’s possible when people of different backgrounds and beliefs come together. This is the most diverse state in our nation, home to so many races and immigrants and Americans who trace their roots back to many of your countries. Hawaii’s not perfect but I think Hawaii comes about as close as you’ll come to a true melting pot of cultures. Here we’re a single ohana, one family.”

During Leaders’ Week, the HTA, through its contractors the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and Hawaii Convention Center, hosted a press trip for meetings trade media so they could experience the APEC summit first-hand in Hawaii. The press trip provided an opportunity for the media to see how Hawaii prepared for and hosted a global meeting of APEC’s magnitude and a chance to tour Hawaii‘s meetings and conventions infrastructure. The media were also able to meet with Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz, the APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee and tourism industry leaders. Media attending the press trip included SmartMeetings, One+, Meetings Focus, MeetingsNet, Northstar Travel Media and TTG Asia. To read an article in Meetings Focus by Tyler Davidson, who attended the press trip, please click here.

APEC 2011 could not have come together without the extensive support of our visitor industry and community. After two years of preparation and planning, Hawaii showed the global community that it is a world-class business destination by serving as host for APEC Leaders’ Week and CEO Summit. I would like to take this opportunity to say mahalo to our marketing partners, the visitor industry, our state and county officials, and community for all of their hard work and kokua throughout this year. So many gave their time and talent to help make this event successful and showcase Hawaii’s hospitality and aloha to our APEC guests. In the words of Hawaii’s treasured kupuna, Aunty Pilahi Paki, "As the world searches for peace the world will turn to Hawaii because Hawaii has the key...and that key is aloha." We now need to continue the collective momentum we helped to create. It is through our collective efforts that we can help Hawaii. The HTA is committed to working with our marketing and industry partners to capitalize on the worldwide interest that has been generated through creating new opportunities for our local community.   

It was with your support that we were able to have another successful year for Hawaii’s visitor industry. The HTA remains committed to working with all of you in 2012 and looks forward to another prosperous year.


With my sincere respect, mahalo and aloha,

Mike McCartney, President and CEO
Hawaii Tourism Authority


DIACRITICALS recognizes the use of diacritical markings of the (modern) Hawaiian language including the `okina [`] or glottal stop and the kahakō [ō] or macron (e.g., in place names of Hawai`i such as Lāna'i). However, you may notice these diacritical markings have been omitted throughout the website to ensure the best online experience for our visitors. recognizes the importance of using these markings to preserve the language and culture of Hawaii and respectfully uses them in all communications beyond the online platform.

1801 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Phone: (808) 973-2255
Fax: (808) 973-2253

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