According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, tourism is the largest single source of private capital into Hawaii. In 2011, total visitor spending statewide topped $12 billion, an increase from $10.89 billion in 2010. Tourism is the state’s biggest generator of jobs among the major economic sectors accounting for approximately 145,235 jobs or roughly 17% of total employment.


In 2011, Hawaii Island welcomed over 1.3 million visitors by air. The island’s visitor plant inventory amounted to 11,113 units, comprised of hotels, condos, timeshare, B&Bs and other vacation rental units.


Visitors arrive at Kona International Airport or Hilo International Airport aboard non-stop flights from the U.S. mainland and inter-island flights. Seasonal flights and charters from Japan and Canada arrive at Kona International Airport. Cruise vessels make regular stops in Hilo and in Kona.


Major resorts are located on the Kohala Coast and in Historic Kailua Village and Kona. Hotels, inns and other accommodations are also found in Hilo and Puna – gateway to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. B&Bs are featured in Waimea and the Hamakua coast.


The Hawaii Island Tourism Strategic Plan 2006-2015 outlines a vision to strategically and sustainably manage tourism that promotes a high quality of life for residents, preservation of natural and cultural resources, quality experiences for visitors and economic growth for the County.


Branding for Hawaii Island tourism showcases inspirational experiences, island culture and heritage, and exciting adventures.


Photo courtesy Hawaii Forest and Trail