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Tourism dollars rolling in: Hawaii visitor spending up 2.4 percent in July

Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands spent a total of $1.70 billion in July 2019, an increase of 2.4 percent compared to July 2018, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA). Hawaii Island continues to show positive signs as it recovers from last year’s downturn in visitors due to the eruption at Kīlauea volcano.

Tourism dollars from the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) helped to fund numerous community events and initiatives across the state in July, including the 49th Annual Ukulele Festival Hawaii, Koloa Plantation Days on Kauai, Prince Lot Hula Festival, and the 60th Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament on the island of Hawaii.

In July, visitor spending increased from U.S. West (+6.6% to $678.1 million) and U.S. East (+12.4% to $510.8 million) but declined from Japan (-16.5% to $172.2 million), Canada (-9.3% to $50.2 million) and All Other International Markets (-6.2% to $291.2 million) compared to a year ago.

On a statewide level, average daily visitor spending was down (-2.7% to $190 per person) in July year-over-year. Visitors from U.S. East spent more per day (+5.3% to $217 per person), while visitors from U.S. West (-0.8% to $166), Japan (-5.0% to $232), Canada (-1.5% to $158) and All Other International Markets (-15.5% to $198) spent less.

Total visitor arrivals rose 6.2 percent to 997,872 visitors in July with all arrivals via air travel. No out-of-state cruise ships visited Hawaii during July. Total visitor days [1] increased 5.2 percent. The statewide average daily census [2], or the number of visitors on any given day in July, was 289,236, up 5.2 percent from last year.

Visitor arrivals by air service increased in July from U.S. West (+11.4% to 467,944), U.S. East (+8.8% to 242,182) and All Other International Markets (+4.1% to 135,521) but declined from Japan (-9.3% to 125,215) and Canada (-1.9% to 27,010) compared to July 2018.

Among the four larger islands, visitor spending on Oahu declined (-1.2% to $764.6 million) in July due to lower daily spending (-7.6%), which offset growth in visitor arrivals (+6.3% to 601,683). Visitor spending on Maui grew (+4.3% to $502.4 million) with daily spending (+2.1%) and visitor arrivals also increasing (+4.8% to 309,134). The island of Hawaii recorded increases in visitor spending (+9.1% to $219.4 million), daily spending (+1.5%) and visitor arrivals (+13.7% to 175,031). This was also the case for Kauai with growth in visitor spending (+3.3% to $201.1 million), daily spending (+0.5%) and visitor arrivals (+2.3% to 140,834).

A total of 1,254,165 trans-Pacific air seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands in July, up 4.2 percent from a year ago. Growth in air seats from U.S. East (+13.8%) and U.S. West (+7.8%) offset decreases from Canada (-11.1%), Other Asia (-10.9%) and Japan (-7.7%). Seat capacity from Oceania (+0.2%) was comparable to July 2018.

Year-to-Date 2019

Year-to-date through July, total visitor spending dropped 1.3 percent to $10.59 billion. Visitor spending increased from U.S. West (+3.3% to $4.12 billion) and U.S. East (+1.0% to $2.91 billion), but declined from Japan (-4.9% to $1.22 billion), Canada (-2.3% to $686.1 million) and All Other International Markets (-12.3% to $1.62 billion).

Statewide average daily spending by visitors decreased to $195 per person (-3.3%) due to lower spending by visitors from most markets.

Year-to-date, total visitor arrivals increased (+4.5% to 6,189,395) versus last year supported by growth in arrivals from air service (+4.4% to 6,112,923) and cruise ships (+14.6% to 76,472). Visitor by air grew from U.S. West (+9.8% to 2,730,547), U.S. East (+4.4% to 1,413,268) and Canada (+1.4% to 337,258) offsetting fewer visitors from Japan (-0.8% to 877,908) and All Other International Markets (-5.6% to 753,942). Total visitor days rose 2.0 percent compared to the first seven months of 2018.

Oahu recorded year-to-date increases in visitor spending (+1.3% to $4.82 billion) and visitor arrivals (+4.9% to 3,649,367), but daily spending was down (-3.4%) compared to the first seven months of 2018. On Maui, visitor spending decreased slightly (-0.9% to $3.11 billion) due to lower daily spending (-3.1%), which offset growth in visitor arrivals (+4.1% to 1,831,177). The island of Hawaii reported declines in visitor spending (-8.8% to $1.38 billion), daily spending (-4.9%) and visitor arrivals (-2.4% to 1,058,377). Kauai also saw decreases in visitor spending (-4.3% to $1.16 billion), daily spending (-2.3%) and visitor arrivals (-1.1% to 827,070).

Other Highlights:

U.S. West: In July, visitor arrivals from the Mountain region increased 13.5 percent year-over-year, with growth in visitors from Nevada (+22.5%), Utah (+15.6%), Colorado (+10.4%) and Arizona (+9.5%). Arrivals from the Pacific region rose 11.1 percent with more visitors from California (+11.5%), Washington (+9.8%) and Oregon (+8.8%).

Year-to-date through July, visitor arrivals rose from the Pacific (+10.6%) and Mountain (+9.1%) regions versus the same period last year. Daily visitor spending dropped to $174 per person (-2.2%) as a result of decreases in lodging, transportation, and entertainment and recreation expenses, while spending on shopping, food and beverage was similar to last year.

U.S. East: In July, visitor arrivals increased from all regions highlighted by growth from the two largest regions, East North Central (+6.8%) and South Atlantic (+4.1%), versus a year ago.

Year-to-date through July, visitor arrivals increased from every region. Daily visitor spending declined slightly to $211 per person (-0.7%) largely due to lower transportation expenses.

Japan: Year-to-date through July, average daily visitor spending decreased to $238 per person (-2.6%) primarily due to lower lodging, transportation and shopping expenses.

Canada: Year-to-date through July, average daily visitor spending declined to $166 per person (-1.3%) due to lower lodging and shopping expenses.

[1] Aggregate number of days stayed by all visitors.
[2] Average daily census is the average number of visitors present on a single day.

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