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Hawaii Visitor Statistics Released for February 2020

Hawaii visitor numbers

Hawaiian Tourism Authority announced Hawai‘i visitor statistics for February 2020. In February, the islands started to see the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In February 2020, flight cancellations started to the Hawaiian Islands. The China market had the greatest impact during February with direct air service suspended on February 3 due to a travel ban on Chinese citizens to the U.S. However, overall visitor spending was up.

Total spending by visitors in the Hawaiian Islands increased to $1.46 billion (+4.7%) in February 2020, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. This represented an average of $50.3 million per day, an increase of 1.1 percent compared to February 2019. The average daily census(*1) showed 250,052 total visitors in Hawai‘i on any given day in February, which was slightly higher (+0.5%) compared to a year ago. Most visitors arrived by air service (+0.4%, 247,493 visitors per day) and some traveled by cruise ships (+9.3%, 2,558 visitors per day).

For visitors arriving by air, U.S. West spending (+9.7% to $19.8 million per day) and the average daily census (+7.7% to 105,233 visitors per day) increased in February, compared to a year ago. U.S. East visitor spending (+8.6% to $14.4 million per day) and the average daily census (+4.3% to 65,827 visitors per day) also rose in February year-over-year.

Japan visitor spending (-2.9% to $5.7 million per day) and the average daily census declined (-4.1% to 23,395 visitors per day) in February, versus a year ago. Canada visitor spending (-7.3% to $5.0 million per day) and the average daily census (-7.0% to 27,223 visitors per day) also declined. Combined spending by visitors from All Other markets (-25.8% to $5.3 million per day) and the average daily census (-19.3% to 25,815 visitors per day) decreased as well.

Total air seats to the Hawaiian Islands increased in February (+9.5% to 1,107,405), with the daily average also up (+5.8% to 38,186 seats per day) compared to a year ago. Growth in average daily scheduled air seats from U.S. East (+18.9% 3,739 seats per day) and U.S. West (+11.4%, 23,536 seats per day) offset decreases from Other Asia (-30.1% to 1,095 seats per day), Oceania (-13.3% to 1,070 seats per day), Canada (-9.3% to 2,126 seats per day) and Japan (-1.2% to 5,581 seats per day).

Year-to-Date 2020

For the first two months of 2020, total visitor spending grew (+4.8% to $3.17 billion), representing an average of $52.9 million per day (+3.1%) versus $51.3 million per day year-over-year. The average daily census of total visitors also increased (+1.3% to 260,059 visitors per day).

Other Highlights:

U.S. West: In February, visitor arrivals from the Pacific and Mountain regions increased, with the mix of visitors (Pacific region 79.9%, and Mountain region 20.1% of total U.S. West) similar to a year ago.

Through the first two months of 2020, visitor arrivals grew from both the Pacific and Mountain regions. Year-to-date, per person per day visitor spending increased to $187 (+2.6%). Lodging, shopping, and food and beverage expenses were higher, while transportation, and entertainment and recreation expenses were about the same compared to the first two months of 2019.

U.S. East: All U.S. East regions in February showed growth in visitor arrivals compared to a year ago. The mix of visitors was also consistent with February 2019. The two largest regions continued to be East North Central (23.9% of U.S. East) and South Atlantic (19% of U.S. East).

Through the first two months of 2020, every region recorded increased visitor arrivals. Per person per day visitor spending of $223 was up (+3.7%) compared to a year ago. Lodging and transportation expenses increased, while shopping, and food and beverage expenses were slightly lower. Entertainment and recreation expenses were similar to a year ago.

Japan: For the first two months of 2020, per person per day visitor spending was up slightly (+1.0% to $241) compared to a year ago. Lodging, food and beverage, transportation, and entertainment and recreation expenses increased, while spending on shopping declined.

Canada: For the first two months of 2020, per person per day visitor spending rose to $179 (+1.1%). Food and beverage, entertainment and recreation, and shopping expenses increased, while lodging and transportation expenses were similar to a year ago.

Highlights from All Other International Markets:

Australia: The average daily census declined (-4.5% to 4,885 visitors per day) in February and through the first two months (-7.1% to 6,146 visitors per day) compared to a year ago.

New Zealand: The average daily census increased (+10.9% to 886 visitors per day) in February and through the first two months (+4.4% to 1,193 visitors per day) compared to a year ago.

China: The average daily census plummeted (-91.4% to 310 visitors per day) in February and through the first two months (-57.7% to 1,435 visitors per day) compared to a year ago.

Korea: The average daily census decreased (-20.8% to 5,027 visitors per day) in February and through the first two months (-22.6% to 5,413 visitors per day) compared to a year ago.

Taiwan: The average daily census declined (-35.2% to 369 visitors per day) in February and in the first two months (-18.3% to 491 visitors per day) compared to a year ago.

Europe: The average daily census from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland (3,859 visitors per day) in February was virtually unchanged compared to a year ago. Through the first two months of 2020 the average daily census decreased (-6.6% to 3,594 visitors per day).

Latin America: The average daily census from Mexico, Brazil and Argentina declined (-5.3% to 611 visitors per day) in February and through the first two months (-9.7% to 742 visitors per day) compared to a year ago.

Island Highlights:

O‘ahu: In February, visitor spending declined (-7.8% to $20.3 million per day) and the average daily census dropped (-2.1% to 108,859 visitors per day) year-over-year. There were more visitors from U.S. West (+14.2%) and U.S. East (+11.2%), but fewer visitors from Canada (-2.5%) and Japan (-1.6%). For the first two months of 2020, visitor spending decreased (-4.5% to $21.5 million per day) and the average daily census dropped slightly (-0.6% to 114,095 visitors per day) compared to a year ago.

Maui: In February, visitor spending increased (+7.3% to $15.9 million per day) and the average daily census rose slightly (+0.7% to 67,650 visitors per day) year-over-year. Growth in arrivals from U.S. West (+13.4%) and U.S. East (+12.1%) offset declines from Japan (-35.6%) and Canada (-9.5%). Year-to-date, visitor spending was up (+7.5% to $16.2 million per day) and the average daily census was slightly ahead of a year ago (+1.0% to 69,281 visitors per day).

Kaua‘i: In February, visitor spending grew (+7.8% to $5.9 million per day) and the average daily census increased (+2.2% to 29,063 visitors per day). There were more visitors from U.S. West (+13.7%) and U.S. East (+9.9%), but fewer visitors from Japan (-31.7%) and Canada (-15.1%). Year-to-date, visitor spending increased (+8.2% to $6.0 million per day) and the average daily census rose slightly (+0.9% to 29,407 visitors per day) compared to a year ago.

Hawai‘i Island: In February, both visitor spending (+10.7% to $7.6 million per day) and the average daily census (+5.8% to 40,149 visitors per day) increased compared to a year ago. There was growth in arrivals from U.S. East (+14.8%), U.S. West (+13.3%), Japan (+12.7%) and Canada (+9.6%). Year-to-date, both visitor spending (+12.5 percent to $8.5 million per day) and the average daily census (+7.0% to 43,366 visitors per day) were up compared to the same period a year ago.

Air Seats to Hawai‘i:

In February, total air capacity to the Hawaiian Islands (+9.5% to 1,107,405 seats) increased with 5.8 percent growth to 38,186 average daily seats.

Scheduled seats from U.S. West (+15.4% to 682,539) grew 11.4 percent to 23,536 daily seats in February. Increased service from Denver, Las Vegas, Oakland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle compensated for discontinued service from Bellingham.

Scheduled seats from U.S. East (+23.1% to 108,428) in February rose 18.9 percent to 3,739 daily seats, boosted by the addition of service from Boston (started April 2019) and increased service from Chicago and Dallas.

Scheduled seats from Canada (-6.0% to 61,664) decreased 9.3 percent to 2,126 daily seats in February. Suspended seasonal service from Edmonton, and reduced service from Calgary and Vancouver, offset added seasonal service from Toronto.

Scheduled seats from Oceania (-10.2% to 31,016) dropped 13.3 percent to 1,070 daily seats in February. From the Australia market, there were fewer seats from Sydney while seats from Brisbane and Melbourne increased compared to February 2019. The number of seats out of Auckland were down from a year ago.

Scheduled seats from Other Asia (-27.7% to 31,758) declined 30.1 percent to 1,095 daily seats in February. From the China market, there was a loss of 3,555 seats from Beijing when an international carrier ended nonstop flights in late August 2019. Due to COVID-19 and the travel ban of Chinese citizens to the U.S., direct service from Shanghai to Hawai‘i was suspended as of February 3, 2020, leaving only 2 flights for the entire month (a loss of 6,424 seats). Air capacity from Seoul, Korea also declined. Seats from Taipei, Taiwan were unchanged from a year ago.

Cruise Ship Visitors:

In February, nine out-of-state cruise ships brought 15,089 visitors to Hawai‘i. Several of those ships were smaller in capacity compared to the eight cruise ships that carried 16,291 visitors in February 2019.

Arrivals by airlines to embark a Hawai‘i home-ported cruise ship increased (+25.1%) compared to a year ago. February 2020 had five Saturdays which allowed for five tours of the Hawai‘i home-ported cruise ship, in comparison to the previous February, which only had four Saturdays and four tours. Total cruise visitors (by air and by cruise ships) increased 4.2 percent to 26,407.

For the first two months of 2020, 25,727 visitors entered Hawai‘i on 18 out-of-state cruise ships, down 7.9 percent from the 27,814 visitors who arrived on 15 cruise ships a year ago.

There were 46,298 total cruise visitors in the first two months of 2020, comparable (+0.2%) to a year ago.

*1- Average Daily Census is the average number of visitors present on a single day.

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