The State of Hawaii and Maui, specifically, has continued to enjoy healthy gains in the tourism sector.  Maui saw the largest increase in daily spending per visitor last month according to Hawaii Tourism Authority data recently released.

Daily visitor spending on Maui jumped to an average of $191 which is a 14.6 percent increase over last year.  Maui’s 15% higher daily spending on the island resulted in $314.4 million in July which brings visitor spending on Maui to $2.2 billion year to date through July  – a 21.4 percent increase over the same time frame in 2011.

The increase in spending was a result of 212,659 visitors in July which represents a 1.8 percent increase over last year.  Of the 1.36 million visitors to Maui in the first seven months of the year, 6 out of 10 visitors stayed exclusively on Maui, the Hawaii Tourism Authority reported.

Other Maui highlights included:

* The number of air seats for Kahului increased by 9 percent in July.

* Maui saw an increase in arrivals from Japan – up 12.7 percent in July – and the West Coast – up 3 percent in July.

* Maui saw a drop in arrivals from the East Coast and Canada, each down about 3.5 percent in July.

The state as a whole saw 720,355 visitors in July, up almost 8 percent over last July with total visitor spending in the state amounting to $1.3 billion in July  – an increase of nearly 18 percent.

Year to date through July, arrivals in the islands increased nearly 10 percent to 4.7 million visitors, and total expenditures increased nearly 21 percent to $8.4 billion.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said that over 160,000 residents are employed by some facet of the visitor industry. If that is accurate, it means that over one-quarter of the 603,000 people employed in Hawaii work in hospitality.

“We anticipate that the momentum from the positive increase in visitor arrivals and spending will continue through the second half of the year,” Mike McCartney, president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said in a statement. “Year-to-date visitor spending has generated an estimated $915 million in state tax revenues and will help to sustain more than 160,000 Hawaii jobs in 2012.”

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