Visitor Spending Down on Big Island, HTA Stats Show

October 31, 2019, 11:32 AM HST (Updated October 31, 2019, 11:32 AM)
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Hawai‘i Island reported declines in visitor and daily spending but an increase in visitor arrivals, according to Hawaii Tourism Authority’s statistics for the first three quarters.

The Big Island was down 4.5% in visitor spending and down 4.1% in daily spending For the first three quarters compared to the same time last year. However, visitor arrivals increased 1.7% amounting in $1.335 million.

Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands spent a total of $13.35 billion in the first three quarters of 2019, which is relatively similar (-0.1%) to the same period in 2018, according to preliminary statistics released today by HTA.

Visitor spending includes lodging, interisland airfare, shopping, food, car rental and other expenses while in Hawai‘i.

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Tourism dollars from the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) helped to fund dozens of community events statewide during the first three quarters of 2019, including the Honolulu Festival, Pan-Pacific Festival, Korean Festival, Okinawan Festival, Prince Lot Hula Festival, Merrie Monarch Festival, Maui Film Festival, and Koloa Plantation Days.

Total visitor spending during the first three quarters of 2019 increased from US West (+5.3% to $5.18 billion) and US East (+2.5% to $3.60 billion), but declined from Canada (-2.6% to $783.9 million) and All Other International Markets (-13.6% to $2.15 billion) compared to a year ago. Visitor spending from Japan of $1.61 billion was comparable to a year ago.

On a statewide level, average daily visitor spending was down (-2.9% to $195 per person) compared to the first three quarters of 2018. Visitors from US East (+1.2% to $212 per person) and Canada (+0.6% to $167 per person) spent slightly more per day, while visitors from US West (-1.3% to $174 per person), Japan (-2.0% to $235 per person) and All Other International Markets (-11.5% to $218 per person) spent less.

Total visitor arrivals increased 5.5 percent to 7,858,876 in the first three quarters of 2019, supported by growth in arrivals from air service (+5.4% to 7,764,441) and cruise ships (+23.6% to 94,435). Visitor arrivals by air increased from US West (+10.5% to 3,460,697), US East (+4.0% to 1,752,473) and Japan (+3.3% to 1,152,900), but declined from Canada (-1.5% to 387,962) and from All Other International Markets (-3.2% to 1,010,409).

Total visitor days increased 2.9 percent. The statewide average daily census, or the number of visitors on any given day was 251,210, up 2.9 percent compared to a year ago.

O‘ahu recorded increases in visitor spending (+2.1% to $6.18 billion) and visitor arrivals (+5.9% to 4,690,139), but daily spending was down (-3.0%) in the first three quarters of 2019 compared to the same period from a year ago.

On Maui, visitor spending increased slightly (+0.8% to $3.85 billion) due to growth in visitor arrivals (+4.7% to 2,321,871) but lower daily spending (-1.9%).

Kaua‘i saw decreases in visitor spending (-6.3% to $1.45 billion), daily spending (-3.3%) and visitor arrivals (-1.7% to 1,043,309).

A total of 10,230,151 trans-Pacific air seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands in the first three quarters of 2019, up 2.3 percent from a year ago. Air seat capacity increased from US East (+5.4%), U.S. West (+4.6%) and Canada (+4.0%), offsetting fewer seats from Other Asia Markets (-13.6%), Oceania (-6.0%) and Japan (-1.8%).

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