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Visitor arrivals increase, spending decreases in Hawaii

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

honolulu hwHawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) announced a new record in tourist arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands. With an increase of 4.7 percent, the Hawaiian Islands hosted 652,616 visitors in September 2015. While visitor volume exceeded last September’s level, lower daily spending across many visitor markets caused a 1.2 percent decline in total visitor expenditures for September 2015 to $1.1 billion.

Growth in arrivals from U.S. West (+6.3% to 248,646) and Canada (+4.2% to 20,504 visitors) more than offset slight declines from U.S. East (-0.6% to 109,813) and Japan (-0.7% to 137,156) compared to September 2014. Arrivals from all other markets rose 4.3 percent to 112,332 visitors.

All four larger Hawaiian Islands saw growth in arrivals: Kaua‘i (+4.7%), Maui (+4.3%), Hawai‘i Island (+2.1%) and O‘ahu (+1.3%) compared to September 2014. Expenditures increased for Maui (+5.7% to $279.1 million) and Kaua‘i (+8.6% to $101.3 million), but declined for O‘ahu (-4.7% to $560.2 million) and Hawai‘i Island (-6.2% to $119.2 million).

There were 881,549 total air seats to Hawai‘i in September 2015, up 2.1 percent from the same month last year. Growth in scheduled seats from Canada (+27.8%), Oceania (+13%), U.S. West (+2.2%) and Japan (+1.6%) offset a 4.9 percent drop in available capacity from Other Asia.

Arrivals by cruise ship climbed 84.2 percent to 24,165 visitors, with 13 cruise ships arriving in September 2015 compared to eight ships in the same month last year.

Through the first nine months of 2015, U.S. West visitors’ daily spending increased 1.5 percent to $165 per person. These visitors spent more on lodging and shopping, but less on food and beverage compared to year-to-date 2014. Daily spending by U.S. East visitors dropped 2.9 percent to $199 per person due to lower spending on lodging, shopping, food and beverage, entertainment and recreation, and transportation than last year.

Compared to last year’s predominately package market, fewer Japanese visitors in September 2015 stayed in hotels (-9.1% to 110,912) while usage of condominiums (+89.3% to 20,048) and timeshare properties (+33.1% to 8,376) rose significantly. There were noticeably more Japanese independent travelers (+57.4%) in September 2015. This was also the fifth straight month of double-digit growth in Japanese independent travelers compared to a year ago. For the first nine months of 2015, Japanese visitors’ daily spending declined 10.3 percent to $243 per person.

Among Canadian visitors, daily spending increased 3.7 percent to $166 per person in the first nine months of 2015. These visitors spent more on lodging, food and beverage, and transportation, but spent less on shopping than a year ago.

Arrivals from Australia increased 4.6 percent to 37,196 visitors in September 2015. For the first nine months of 2015, arrivals rose 10.3 percent to 252,125 visitors. Daily spending by these visitors averaged $255 per person, down from $269 per person for the first nine months of 2014. These visitors spent less on shopping and food and beverage, but more on lodging, entertainment and recreation, and transportation.

Arrivals from China grew 5.5 percent to 17,098 visitors. For the first nine months of 2015, arrivals rose 6.1 percent to 133,989 visitors. Their daily spending of $387 per person was unchanged from year-to-date 2014 and continued to be the highest among the visitor markets. Decreased spending on lodging and shopping was offset by higher spending on food and beverage, entertainment and recreation, and transportation.

There were 14,271 visitors from Europe (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland), down 4.5 percent from September 2014. For the first nine months of 2015, arrivals of 108,655 visitors (+0.3%) was comparable to the same period last year.

Arrivals from the Latin America market (Mexico, Brazil and Argentina) decreased 24.4 percent to 1,862 visitors. For the first nine months of 2015, arrivals from this market fell 3.5 percent to 20,905 visitors.

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