Visitor Numbers Up .8 %, Spending Up 13.1%

May 31, 2016, 8:03 AM HST
* Updated May 31, 8:08 AM
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Hula dancersHawai‘i Island experienced little growth in visitor arrivals (+.8%) in April 2016, but a notable gain in visitor expenditures (+13.1%), according to preliminary statistics released recently by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.

Compared to last year, visitor arrivals in the first four months of 2016 increased 1% on Hawai‘i Island.

Visitor expenditures for the first four months of 2016 increased 10.9% to $712.3 million on Hawai‘i Island.

In April 2106, although there was a slight increase in visitor arrivals, visitors did not stay as long (-2.3%), causing a drop in visitor days (-1.6%).

But the average daily spending by these visitors was much higher than last year (+14.9% to $183 per person) and contributed to a growth in visitor expenditures (+13.1% to $147.6 million) compared to last April.


There were more visitors from US East (+3%) and Japan (+6.3%), but fewer visitors from US West (-2.6%) and Canada (-11.6%). A larger number of Japanese visitors stayed exclusively on Hawai‘i Island (+32.9% to 1,589) compared to last April.



Visitor arrivals in the first four months of 2016 increased on O‘ahu (+3.1%), Maui (+2.6%) but declined on Kaua‘i (-1.2%) compared to the same period in 2015.

Visitor expenditures for the first four months of 2016 increased on Maui (+3.4% to $1.6 billion). Kaua‘i’s visitor expenditures (+0.2% to $538.2 million) were comparable to last year while visitor expenditures on O‘ahu (-1.1% to $2.2 billion) declined.



Among the three other larger Hawaiian Islands, visitor arrivals increased for O‘ahu (+2%), but visitor expenditures declined for O‘ahu (-5.8%) in April 2016 compared to last year.

Hawai‘i Island had a small growth in arrivals (+.8%) but a notable gain in visitor expenditures (+13.1%).

Arrivals to Kaua‘i were unchanged, while visitor expenditures increased (+6.2%) in April year-over-year.


In the first four months of 2016, total visitor arrivals (+3.5% to 2,896,625) and visitor expenditures (+1.8% to $5.1 billion) surpassed the same period last year. There were more visitors from US West (+4.2%), US East (+6%), Japan (+2.6%) and all other international markets (+10.4%), which offset the decline in arrivals from Canada (-11.5%).

Gains in visitor expenditures from US West (+5.1% to $1.7 billion), US East (+5.7% to $1.3 billion) and other international markets (+6.9% to $977.2 million) offset losses from Canada (-18.7% to $481.4 million) and Japan (-3.2% to $615.2 million).


Statewide, total visitor arrivals increased 3.4 % in April 2016 to 700,573 visitors and visitor expenditures declined 1.1%.

Total visitor days rose 1.8 percent compared to April 2015.

The growth in visitor arrivals in April was boosted by international visitors arriving by air (+6% to 218,487) and from visitors who came on cruise ships (+85.3% to 22,902).

Partially contributing to the growth in cruise visitors was a shift in ship schedules; several ships that came in March and May of 2015 switched to an April itinerary this year.

“Hawai‘i attracted its most visitors ever in April, primarily due to a convergence of two events that fell in our favor,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, regarding the month’s visitor statistics. “The rescheduling of some cruises to arrive in April brought in an influx of visitors that would not have occurred otherwise, and we realized a spike in visitors from Japan the last week of April for the start of the Golden Week holidays.”

Visitor arrivals by air increased (+1.8% to 677,671), driven by growth in Japanese visitors (+4.5% to 100,512) many of whom came during the last week of April 2016 for Golden Week. Golden Week is a string of four holidays that occurs from April 29 through May 5 each year.

Arrivals from other international markets (+14.3% to 108,106) also increased compared to April 2015.

However, there was no growth in arrivals from US West (-0.5% to 294,264) and US East (-0.2% to 133,262), and arrivals from Canada declined (-8.6% to 41,527).

“For the first time in nearly two years, monthly visitor arrivals from our largest market, the US West, did not surpass the previous year’s total in April, Szigeti continued. “Arrivals from our second largest market, the US East, also came in behind last year’s total for the first time in six months. Fortunately, these results were offset by the strong showing from our other international markets, which doesn’t include Japan or Canada.

“The visitor statistics year-to-date show that Hawai‘i remains ahead of last year’s record-setting pace for both arrivals and expenditures,” said Szigeti. “This is encouraging news for our tourism industry and conveys the enduring appeal of the Hawai‘i brand to travelers worldwide.”

Lower average daily spending (-2.8% to $191 per person) in April 2016 resulted in a drop in total visitor expenditures (-1.1% to $1.1 billion). Visitor expenditures declined from Canada (-15.5% to $74.4 million) and from other international markets (-7.1% to $241.2 million).

For the Japan market, although daily spending was down (-5.3%) in April 2016, growth in arrivals boosted visitor expenditures (+3.6% to $138.2 million).

Higher daily spending among US East visitors (+8.7%) contributed to a gain in visitor expenditures (+6.8% to $265.5 million) in April 2016. Daily spending by US West visitors in April was comparable (+.5%) to last year, but visitor expenditures declined (-1.5% to $417.7 million).

Growth in total air seats to the Hawaiian Islands in April 2016 was flat (-0.5% to 975,737) compared to last year. Declines in scheduled seats from Japan (-6.8%), Canada (-2%) and US West (-1.2%) offset increases from Other Asia markets (+26.9%) and Oceania (+9.1%).

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