March visitor arrivals, spending down compared to last year


Hawaii’s tourism economy continues to level off after two record-breaking years in visitor spending and arrivals, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said Monday.

Total expenditures by visitors who came to Hawaii in March 2014 fell 3.5 percent compared to last March to $1.2 billion, according to preliminary statistics released Monday. Total arrivals declined 5.2 percent to 728,814 visitors, offsetting increased average daily visitor spending (+1.8% to $189 per person).

Overall, visitor arrivals and spending were down three percent for the first 90 days of 2014 compared to 2013, HTA reported. During this period, visitors spent an average of $42.4 million per day in the Hawaiian Islands: $20 million on Oahu, $11.8 million in Maui County, $4.3 million on Kauai, $6.1 million on Hawaii Island, and $156,000 by visitors who arrived by cruise ship. This equated to a dollar less per person per day in visitor spending and 760 fewer arrivals per day, in comparison to 2013.

“Following two record-breaking years in visitor spending and arrivals, we anticipated a slowdown in growth this year,” said HTA president and CEO Mike McCartney. “While the outlook for the summer remains strong, we expect the fall shoulder period to be challenging, with increased competition, a strengthening U.S. dollar and increased taxes.”

McCartney says the authority will continue to focus on enhancing global marketing efforts, particularly in China.

“China is becoming a major market area for Hawaii’s tourism industry with 11 weekly nonstop flights, five from Shanghai and six from Beijing,” he said. “There is significant growth in visitor spending from this market as Chinese visitors continue to be the highest daily spenders at $411 per person per day, as of March 2014. We also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the China Shanghai Film Group to film the first Chinese major motion picture in the Hawaiian Islands. This will provide our state with tremendous exposure in China, and help us to reach a vast population.”

Related Link: Hawaii Tourism Authority’s March 2014 visitor statistics

March 2014 breakdown:

Arrivals by air from U.S. West visitors dropped 9.2 percent to 268,236 visitors. A change in the Easter/spring break holiday to April in 2014 from March in 2013 caused some shift in arrivals and contributed to this decline.

Combined with lower daily visitor spending (-6.6% to $156 per person), U.S. West visitor expenditures decreased 14 percent to $378.9 million in March 2014. U.S. West visitor expenditures and arrivals have shown year-over-year losses since August 2013.

While U.S. East arrivals of 165,745 visitors (+0.2%) were comparable to March 2013, higher daily spending (+6.2% to $199 per person) led to a 7.5 percent growth in U.S. East visitor expenditures to $317.4 million.

Photo: HT Japan
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Total expenditures by Japanese visitors of $204.4 million (-0.6%) was about the same as March 2013. Growth in arrivals (+2% to 130,565 visitors) was offset by small decreases in daily spending (-1.6% to $262 per person) and length of stay.

Canadian visitors spent a total of $136.2 million in March 2014, down 5.9 percent from a year ago. Arrivals of 74,054 visitors (-0.8%) was similar to March 2013, while daily spending declined 4.2 percent to $147 per person.

Arrivals from all other markets decreased 4.5 percent to 79,622 visitors. However, higher daily spending (+18.3% to $264 per person) contributed to a 4.6 percent growth in expenditures from all other visitors to $190.9 million.

Arrivals by cruise ships fell 52.7 percent to 10,592 visitors in March 2014.

There were fewer visitors to the four larger Hawaiian Islands compared to March 2013. Visitor expenditures increased on Maui (+5.7%) and Hawaii Island (+4.9%), but declined on Oahu (-9.5%) and Kauai (-4.3%).

There were 982,885 total air seats to Hawaii in March 2014, up 1.5 percent from last March. Scheduled seats from Other Asia (+10.2%), Japan (+9.5%), Canada (+6.6%) and U.S. East (+3.1%) increased but scheduled seats from Oceania (-5.8%) declined.

Year-to-date comparison:

For the first quarter of 2014, total visitor expenditures fell 3.1 percent to $3.8 billion and total arrivals dropped 3.2 percent to 2,058,207 visitors. Arrivals by air from U.S. West (-7.1%) and U.S. East (-1.5%) declined, while arrivals from Japan (+3.1%), Canada (+1.5%), Other Asia (+13.1%) and Oceania (+5.1%) increased.

Total visitor expenditures were higher on Kauai (+1.4%), declined on Oahu (-5%) and Maui (-2.2%), and were about the same for Hawaii Island (+0.7%) compared to year-to-date 2013.

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