Visitor arrivals to Hawaii fell 6.4 percent, while visitor spending saw a 15 percent decline in May.

Compared to May 2008, spending by passengers traveling to the Islands by air fall $133 million, to $754.8 million, according the data released by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Thursday.

Visitor arrivals were down 6.4 percent to 514,004.

Those who traveled to Hawaii last month spent $165 per person, down from $185 per person in May 2008.

Among Hawaii’s top visitor markets, air arrivals from the U.S. West in March rose 4 percent, while arrivals by air from the U.S. East declined 8.9 percent.

Air arrivals from Japan dropped 15 percent while Canadian air arrivals were down 12.4 percent, the biggest decrease in arrivals from Canada since April 2004.

“May’s visitor statistics continue to reflect global economic challenges that are affecting Hawaii,” said state tourism liaison Marsha Wienert, in a statement. “Additionally, concerns over the H1N1 flu virus have impacted visitor arrivals and caused a double-digit decrease in visitors from Japan.”

Year to date through May, visitor spending was down 16.4 percent to $4.1 billion.

Total arrivals by air and cruise declined 10.3 percent from the same period last year to 2.6 million visitors.

All major islands reported decreases in arrivals and spending in May:

• Oahu was down 6.4 percent to 325,724 visitors. Spending there was down 17 percent to $405.6 million.

• Kauai arrivals were down 5.9 percent to 82,013. Spending was down 5.6 percent to 83 million.

• Maui arrivals were down 13.9 percent to 145,790. Spending there was down 13.7 percent to $180.7 million.

• The Big Island saw a 10.4 percent decrease in visitors to 91,224. Spending was down 15 percent to $78.1 million.