By Mike McCartney – Tourism has contributed $1.4 billion in tax revenue for the state through November 2013, $40 million more than the same period last year. However, while year-to-date visitor arrivals and expenditures continue to exceed last year, growth continues to slow during the second half of the year with monthly decreases in arrivals and expenditures in November 2013.
Major factors contributing to this leveling off include increasingly aggressive competition, adjustments in product pricing and fluctuations in currency exchange rates and fuel costs. As a result, many consumers continue to become more price conscious, which has been affecting visitor length of stay, accommodation preferences and spending.
In Japan for example, the market is experiencing a weakening yen and will be further impacted by an increase in consumption tax in April 2014, which will contribute to the slowing of the market’s travel booking pace.
Having anticipated a slowdown from our major markets, the HTA is working with its marketing contractors to increase efforts to help stimulate core markets including North America and Japan, while strengthening developing markets like China, Taiwan and Oceania. This includes enhancing marketing programs and airlift support to increase destination market share and balance Hawai‘i’s tourism economy.
We continue to work with our global contractors to adjust our marketing plans to address these forecasted shortfalls, which we project will continue through the first half of 2014.
Mike McCartney, President and CEO, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority