January 2023 visitor numbers on Big Island rebound to pre-pandemic level
Visitors spent $1.89 billion in Hawai’i during January 2023, which is 35 percent more than January of last year and 17% more than in pre-pandemic January 2019.
The report is from the State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.
Big Island key statistics:
- 148,376 visitors in January 2023, a 34 percent increase from January 2022 and a 0.7 percent increase from January 2019.
- Visitor spending was $260.1 million in January 2023, a 10.4 percent improvement from January 2022 and 2.7% more than in January 2019.
- The average daily census on Hawai‘i Island was 45,404 visitors in January 2023, a 20 percent increase from January 2022 and 6.7% more than during January 2019.
In January 2023, O’ahu had the most visitor arrivals by air at 435,833, followed by Maui (228,743), Big Island (148,376), Kaua’i (106,960), Lānaʻi (5,482) and Molokaʻi (4,334).
The state’s visitor industry and the state’s economic recovery continued to be driven primarily by increased spending among visitors from the U.S. West and U.S. East, followed by the steady recovery of key international visitor markets.
Total visitor spending from Canada in January 2023 nearly approached January 2019 levels, while total spending from the Japan market continued to improve.
“The tourism industry had a good start in 2023 with nearly a 97 percent recovery in arrivals,” said Chris J. Sadayasu, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism. “International visitors by air in January 2023 accounted for 23 percent of the total visitors by air — the highest since the start of the pandemic.”
He said January 2023 was the second-best month for arrivals from Japan and Canada for 34 months. The same was true for cruise ship arrivals during the month.
“With the recovery of tourism, especially international tourism, those businesses that rely on
international visitors will experience a better year in 2023, although full recovery may take a few years,” Sadayasu said in a press release.
The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority has been measuring performance by resident sentiment, visitor satisfaction, per-person-per-day visitor spending and total visitor spending. These four indicators, adopted in the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, represent a balance between tourism’s economic benefits and its impacts on local communities.
All four key performance indicators are trending in a good direction, all while visitor arrivals were down 3.2 percent in January 2023 compared to January 2019.
“As global travel is rebalanced and restored in the years ahead, it’s imperative that we maintain our proactive presence and communication in our key markets to amplify our statewide message of mālama Hawai‘i for the well-being of our community,” said John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawai’i Tourism Authority.
Here are some key takeaways from the January 2023 report:
- 775,132 visitors arrived by air service, mainly from the U.S. West and U.S. East. This is an increase of 37 percent from January 2022, but down 3.8 percent from Janauary 2019.
- 16,648 visitors arrived by cruise ships during the month. It’s a 138 percent increase from January 2022 and a 39 percent increase from January 2019.
- Statewide, there was an average of 249,514 visitors per day in January 2023, which is almost exactly at the pre-pandemic level of January 2019.