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Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands spent a total of $8.88 billion in the first half of 2019, a decrease of 2.0 percent compared to the same period in 2018, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).
In the month of June, total visitor spending was up 2.8 percent compared to a year ago.
Tourism dollars from the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) helped to fund dozens of community events and initiatives statewide during the first half of 2019, including the Honolulu Festival, Pan Pacific Festival, various King Kamehameha Celebration events, and the LEI (Leadership, Exploration, and Inspiration) Program, which encourages Hawaii high school students to pursue careers in travel and hospitality.
Total visitor spending during the first half of 2019 increased from U.S. West (+2.7% to $3.45 billion), but declined from U.S. East (-1.2% to $2.40 billion), Japan (-2.7% to $1.05 billion), Canada (-1.7% to $635.9 million) and All Other International Markets (-13.6% to $1.33 billion) compared to a year ago.
On a statewide level, average daily spending decreased to $196 per person (-3.4%) due to lower spending by visitors from U.S. West (-2.4% to $176 per person), U.S. East (-1.9% to $209 per person), Japan (-2.2% to $239 per person), Canada (-1.3% to $167 per person) and from All Other International Markets (-6.7% to $229 per person). The decline was largely due to decreases in lodging and transportation expenses.
Total visitor arrivals increased 4.2 percent to 5,191,523 in the first half of 2019, supported by growth in arrivals from air service (+4.0% to 5,115,051) and cruise ships (+15.9% to 76,472). Visitor arrivals by air increased from U.S. West (+9.5% to 2,262,603), U.S. East (+3.6% to 1,171,086), Canada (+1.7% to 310,248) and Japan (+0.8% to 752,693), but declined from All Other International Markets (-7.5% to 618,421). Total visitor days increased 1.4 percent. The average daily census, or number of visitors on any given day was 250,991, up 1.4 percent compared to a year ago.
Among the four larger islands, Oahu recorded increases in both visitor spending (+1.8% to $4.05 billion) and visitor arrivals (+4.6% to 3,047,683) in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period from a year ago. On Maui, visitor spending decreased (-1.8% to $2.61 billion), while visitor arrivals grew (+4.0% to 1,522,043). The island of Hawaii reported declines in both visitor spending (-11.5% to $1.16 billion) and visitor arrivals (-5.1% to 883,346). Kauai also saw decreases in both visitor spending (-5.7% to $961.9 million) and visitor arrivals (-1.7% to 686,236).