Gov. Neil Abercrombie says Hawaii is seeing a record number of visitors from China and Korea thanks to efforts by his administration over the past year.

In the 1st Year Actions & Accomplishments wrap-up on the governor’s website, Abercrombie cites trips he and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz made to Asia along with the success of the APEC conference for helping boost the number of visitors from Asia.

“With APEC under our belt and the Governor and Lieutenant Governor both making trips to Asia, we see these efforts beginning to bear fruit. An unprecedented public private partnership including Hawaii Tourism Authority and our friends in Asia is resulting a [sic] record year from China and Korea, a strong recovery in Japan, and a solid year from the U.S. mainland,” he wrote.

While he makes several claims in that statement, we’re taking a look at the statement that Hawaii is seeing a “record year” from China and Korea.

Is the governor right?

Abercrombie spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz said the administration used data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority to assess the state’s tourism performance.

Hawaii Tourism Authority spokeswoman Momi Akimseu said the agency only has numbers through the end of September on China and Korea visitors. It won’t have market numbers for the full calendar year until early next year.

During the 2010 calendar year, visitors from China and Korea were at their highest level in seven years, according to the HTA’s 2010 Annual Visitor Research Report. Visitors from China had increased 48 percent over 2009 levels to a total of 62,032 visitors. And visitors from Korea that year had increased 59.5 percent over 2009 levels to 81,920 visitors.

Through the third quarter of this year, visitors from both markets are well up over the same period last year. It’s clear that when the final numbers are in, the state will surpass last year’s record totals, although we’re not there yet.

Here’s a look at the numbers for the first nine months of 2010 and 2011.

Market Year (Jan.-Sept.) Total Visitors
China 2010 46,466
China 2011 57,823
Korea 2010 58,544
Korea 2011 72,064


The bottom line: Abercrombie’s right. Hawaii is well on its way to beating last year’s record for the number of visitors from China and Korea.

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