Big Island Sees Record Tourism Numbers in 2014
Record highs have been reached in visitor spending and arrivals, according to new information released by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority.
These numbers, consistent with the past three years, come in relief to the slower growth numbers Hawai’i has been seeing.
In 2014, the state reached $14.75 billion in visitor expenditures, an increase of 2.3 percent, exceeding the overall aim of $14.69 billion.
Additionally, the number of visitors who came to the state rose by 1.3 percent to 8,282,680, surpassing any previous target the state held.
Increased arrivals and spending to the majority of the islands has allowed the benefits of tourism to reach throughout the state. This resonates well, as HTA has attempted to make strides to diversify the distribution of visitors state-wide.
On the Big Island, visitor arrivals remained steady compared to previous years, with a slight year-over-year increase of 0.7 percent to 1,445,939 in 2014. Officials say that the number was supported by an increased number of airline seats traveling to Kona. The number increased by 11.7 percent from past years to 686,553. On the other hand, airline seats to Hilo declined by 5.2 percent to 46,058.
In addition to travelers coming to the Big Island, they were staying longer than previous years by 1.6 percent to 7.56 days. Visitor spending also increased by 3.2 percent to just over $176 a day and increased by 4.8 percent to $1,333 per trip. These numbers assisted in growing the total visitor spending in the state by 5.6 percent to $1.9 billion for the year.
Other notable increases were visitors coming from North America, which picked up during the second half of 2014. Officials say these increases were supported by increased seat inventory, which allowed the possibility of more connection options and low airfares with decreased competition.
Hawai’i’s largest international market, Japan, showed signs of slowed activity as the visitor number from this region is slightly down. The average length of stay and daily spending also affect the expenditures from this market. Officials attribute the slowdown to an unstable economy and weakening Japanese yen.
Smaller international markets, including arrivals from Oceania, other parts of Asia. and Europe continue to show increases. Visitors from Oceania increased by 5.9 percent, while visitors from other Asian markets increased by 8.5 percent and visitors from Europe increased by 4.6 percent.
The HTA says that its aim is to continue to work in connection with global contractors and industry partners to continue to drive tourism in Hawai’i. Maintaining a balance based on the needs of the residents of Hawai’i and the visitor industry through partnership with government officials is also at the top of HTA’s priority list.