Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More Visitors, More Money? Um...No.

I really wanted this to be a win/win story but please take from it what you will.  After what seems like FOREVER, it's been predicted that Hawaii visitor arrivals and spending will continue to increase throughout the rest of the year, marking a sure sign of steady economic recovery.  Hallelujah!

The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) has estimated that total visitor arrivals to Hawaii are expected to climb 2.6% this year to 6.7 million based on stronger-than-expected international arrivals logged in the first quarter. With a combination of longer stays and higher average daily spending in the first few months of the year, this has boosted the state’s forecast for visitor expenditure growth by 4.9% to $10.6 billion in 2010, DBEDT said. 

With news like this, you would think that Hawaii residents would be rejoicing! But despite the optimistic visitor numbers, DBEDT expects hourly wage and salary jobs this year to lag behind economic recovery, not surprising really as wages in Hawaii have always been low, and many people work more than one job just to make rent each month.  Combine that with a very competitive job market (and a tough one to get into if you are not Hawaiian) and it still seems like there are many challenges ahead.

So, the good news is that more people are traveling.  Yay.  The bad news is that travel costs are likely to go back up (no more last minute cheap deals to Hawaii) and Hawaiian workers are not reaping much of the benefit as tourism starts to pick up in their backyard.  Ugh, supply and demand can work in strange ways.

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