Visitor Spending on Big Island Declines in May

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Visitor spending on Hawai‘i Island declined (-11.6% to $153.7 million) in May 2019, while visitor arrivals increased (+5.0% to 138,520).

Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands spent a total of $1.39 billion in May 2019, a decrease of 2.1% compared to the same month last year, according to preliminary statistics released on June 27, 2019, by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA).

Tourism dollars from the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) helped to fund several community events and initiatives statewide in May, including the 42nd Annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, 92nd Annual City & County of Honolulu Lei Day Celebration, Ka‘ū Coffee Festival, Parade of Farms and Maui Matsuri.

In May, visitor spending increased from US West (+6.3% to $558.9 million) and Canada (+3.2% to $47.1 million), but declined from US East (-2.2% to $388.9 million), Japan (-1.5% to $168.2 million) and All Other International Markets (-19.4% to $225.4 million) compared to a year ago.

On a statewide level, average daily visitor spending was down (-4.2% to $199 per person) in May
year-over-year. Visitors from Canada spent more per day (+7.2% to $170 per person), while travelers spent less from US West (-1.2% to $173), U.S. East (-2.8% to $212), Japan (-1.2% to $242), and All Other International Markets (-10.2% to $246).


Total visitor arrivals increased 4.6% to 841,376 visitors in May, supported by growth in arrivals from both air service (+4.3% to 830,038) and cruise ships (+42.5% to 11,338). Total visitor days increased 2.2% (aggregate number of days stayed by all visitors). The average daily census, or the number of visitors on any given day in May, was 226,215, up 2.2% compared to a year ago (average daily census is the average number of visitors present on a single day).

Visitor arrivals by air service increased in May from US West (+11.7% to 387,132) and US East (+4.4% to 196,744), but declined from Japan (-2.1% to 118,254), Canada (-2.6% to 25,794) and All Other International Markets (-10.4% to 102,114).

Among the four larger islands, visitor spending in May on O‘ahu rose slightly (+0.8% to $674.8 million) with visitor arrivals also increasing (+3.2% to 503,905) compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, visitor spending on Maui decreased (-1.4% to $397.7 million) despite growth in visitor arrivals (+4.3% to 248,573). Kauai recorded decreases in both visitor spending (-8.5% to $149.2 million) and visitor arrivals (-1.6% to 111,196).

A total of 1,118,421 trans-Pacific air seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands in May, up 2.2 percent from a year ago. Growth in air seats from U.S. West (+5.4%) and Canada (+4.5%) offset declines from Oceania (-7.3%), Japan (-5.2%) and Other Asia Markets (-3.3%). There was no growth in seat capacity from U.S. East (-0.4%) compared to May 2018.


Other Highlights:

US West: In May, visitor arrivals from the Mountain region increased 13.2 percent year-over-year, with growth in visitors from Nevada (+18.9%), Arizona (+15.9%), Utah (+10.5%) and Colorado (+7.7%). Arrivals from the Pacific region rose 11.1 percent, with more visitors from Oregon (+16.4%), California (+11.4%), Alaska (+9.6%) and Washington (+7.4%).

Year-to-date through May, visitor arrivals rose from the Pacific (+9.8%) and Mountain (+8.0%) regions versus the same period last year. Average daily visitor spending declined to $177 per person (-3.4%) as a result of decreases in lodging, food and beverage, transportation, and entertainment and recreation expenses.

US East: In May, with the exception of the East South Central (-0.5%) region, all other regions recorded growth in arrivals versus last year.


Year-to-date through May, visitor arrivals increased from most regions except for the New England (-1.0%) and Mid Atlantic (-0.7%) regions. Average daily visitor spending declined to $209 per person (-2.7%), largely due to decreases in lodging and transportation expenses.

Japan: Fewer visitors stayed in hotels (-5.8% to 96,000) in May, while stays increased in condominiums (+3.8% to 14,717), timeshares (+35.7% to 9,655), with friends and relatives (+52.3% to 1,703) and rental homes (+50.1% to 444) compared to a year ago.

Year-to-date through May, average daily visitor spending declined to $237 per person (-2.5%), primarily due to lower lodging and transportation expenses.

Canada: In May, visitor stays increased in hotels (+2.2% to 12,570) and timeshares (+6.7% to 2,370), while stays declined in condominiums (-9.7% to 7,047) and rental homes (-17.0% to 3,430).

Year-to-date through May, average daily visitor spending declined to $168 per person (-1.2%), due to lower lodging and shopping expenses.

View the full report here.

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