No single industry dominates Hawaii as much as tourism. The state is recognized internationally as a popular leisure destination. Locally, the industry sustains hundreds of businesses, employs tens of thousands of local residents, and brings in more than $10 billion dollars in visitor spending each year. In 2012, its best year on record, daily visitor spending topped $39 million, state tax revenue reached $1.58 billion and the industry supported 167,000 jobs, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
When tourism is healthy — that is, when visitor arrival numbers are up and spending habits are strong — Hawaii's economy booms. When tourism suffers, as it has historically during recession, war, natural and manmade disaster, the state's financial stability is directly and negatively impacted.