Hawaii Visitor Industry Report: Expenditures for First Five Months of the Year Up $175 Million

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By Mike McCartney– The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) has revalidated the data for the monthly visitor statistics report for 2013 and January through May 2014. This was done as part of the HTA’s normal process of refining data from the previous year.

It was also necessary due to a complaint that an employee of one of our research contractors may have submitted invalid survey data. The data in question has resulted in an adjustment to visitor expenditures on the island of Maui between June 2013 and May 2014, which prompted adjustments to statewide visitor spending.


This matter is currently under review by the State Attorney General’s office, the HTA, as well as the HTA’s contractor.

The delayed release of the May 2014 visitor statistics report allowed us to gather input and collaborate with other research firms to ensure the accuracy of the data and we are confident that the numbers released are valid.

On behalf of the HTA, I appreciate the public’s patience as we verified the data and apologize for the delay in releasing the May 2014 monthly visitor statistics.

Visitor spending appears to be trending up for 2014. During the first five months of this year, expenditures increased three percent to $6.1 billion or $174 million more into the state’s economy. That equates to $19 million more in state tax revenue for the year so far. And we anticipate a strong summer season for Hawai‘i’s tourism economy supported by increased air seat inventory through September.

While the neighbor islands are faring well, we would like to see greater distribution across all of the Hawaiian Islands to help balance the growth of our tourism economy. This will help us to ensure the long-term sustainability of our industry, where there is the capacity to accommodate visitors.

On Aug. 28-29, 2014, the HTA will be hosting its annual Hawai‘i Tourism Conference at the Hawai‘i Convention Center where stakeholders can learn about our contractors marketing plans for 2015 and hear from industry experts on trends and ways to help the momentum of our tourism economy.

Here is more information on the number breakdown:

Total personal spending by visitors who came to Hawai‘i in May 2014 increased 5.1 percent (or $52.4 million) from May 2013 to $1.1 billion[1], according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. For the first five months of 2014, total personal visitor expenditures rose 3 percent to $6.1 billion, boosted by higher average daily spending (+3% to $196 per person).  Compared to final 2013 statistics, total arrivals of 3,369,885 visitors (-0.5%) through May 2014 were similar to the first five months of 2013.

In May 2014, total arrivals grew 1.8 percent to 649,125 visitors. Arrivals by air rose 1.4 percent to 642,091 visitors, while arrivals by cruise ships increased to 7,034 visitors. The average daily spending by all visitors (+3.2% to $193 per person) increased from May 2013.

Negative growth in air arrivals from U.S. West since August 2013 have continued. In May 2014 there were 264,297 U.S. West air visitors (-0.6%). Higher daily spending by these visitors (+10% to $155 per person) contributed to a 9.3 percent increase in visitor expenditures to $373.2 million. Growth in U.S. East arrivals (+1.1% to 144,020 visitors) was offset by lower daily spending (-3.1% to $195 per person), resulting in visitor expenditures of $281.1 million (-1.1%).

Japanese arrivals rose 3.9 percent to 113,713 visitors. However, decreased daily spending (-3.4% to $280 per person) led to a 1.1 percent drop in total expenditures to $181.5 million. Canadian visitor expenditures grew 18.6 percent to $49.8 million in May 2014, boosted by a 10.3 percent growth in arrivals to 29,769 visitors.

Arrivals from All Other markets totaled 90,292 visitors (+2%) while combined expenditures from All Other markets rose 9.1 percent to $200.6 million.

There were more visitors to Maui (+3%), Kaua‘i (+1.7%) and O‘ahu (+0.8%), but fewer visitors to Hawai‘i Island (-2.6%) compared to May 2013. Visitor expenditures increased on Kaua‘i (+16.6%), Maui (+10.9%), Hawai‘i Island (+1.3%) and O‘ahu (+1%) compared to May 2013.

Air capacity to Hawai‘i rose 4.2 percent to 898,847 total air seats in May 2014. Scheduled seats from Other Asia (+26%), Japan (+7.3%) and U.S. West (+4.7%) increased, but scheduled seats from Oceania (-7.6%), Canada (-1.9%) and U.S. East (-1.5%) declined.
Year-to-date May 2014:

Arrivals by air from U.S. West (-3.5%) decreased, while arrivals from Japan (+1.1%), Canada (+3.7%), Other Asia (+19.2%) and Oceania (+8.5%) exceeded the first five months of 2013. Total visitor expenditures increased on Hawai‘i Island (+9.6%), Maui (+11.7%) and Kaua‘i (+7.4%), but declined on O‘ahu (-3.8%).

Other Highlights:

·         Arrivals from California (+0.7%) were about the same compared to May 2013, but there were fewer visitors from Washington (-2.5%), Oregon (-1.5%) and Alaska (-8%). In the Mountain region (-2.7%), arrivals from Utah (-9.6%) and Nevada (-4%) were lower compared to last May. Year-to-date, arrivals from the Pacific and Mountain regions declined an average of 3.7 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively (see Visitor Highlights: Visitor Arrivals by U.S. Region on the HTA website).

·         For U.S. East, growth in arrivals from the West South Central (+7.5%) and South Atlantic (+6.6%) regions offset declines from the New England (-5.6%), East South Central (-3.3%), East North Central (-3.1%) and West North Central (-1.5%) regions compared to May 2013. Through the first five months of 2014, more visitors came from the South Atlantic (+2.3%), East North Central (+2%) and West South Central (+1.6%) regions than in the same period last year.

·         More visitors came to honeymoon (+16.6% to 61,624) in May 2014 compared to a year ago. Japanese honeymooners, which comprised 45 percent of this segment, rose 23.7 percent from May 2013. Honeymoon visitors from U.S. West (+14.2% to 11,137) and U.S. East (+2.0% to 9,085) also increased. Through May 2014, 229,666 visitors came to honeymoon in the islands, up 11.8 percent from year-to-date 2013.

Final 2013 Statistics:

In 2013, personal visitor spending summed to $14.4 billion, an increase of 1.1 percent from 2012. After supplemental business expenditures were included, total visitor expenditures in Hawai‘i rose to $14.5 billion, up 1.1 percent from the previous high last year. A total of 8,174,461 visitors (+1.8%) came to the state by air or by cruise ships, surpassing the previous record of 8,028,743 visitors in 2012. Visitors who arrived by air spent an average of $194 per person daily, slightly up from $193 in 2012.

Supplemental business expenditures of $108 million were 5.8 percent less than 2012 and represented 0.7 percent of total visitor expenditures. These expenditures are additional business expenses spent locally on conventions and corporate meetings by organizers and exhibitors (i.e., costs of space rental, business services, transportation, and additional food and beverage) that were not included in personal spending.
Technical Notes:

1)    Statistics for January through April 2014 were revised. The delay in releasing this month’s visitor statistics was due to a discrepancy in the data collection by the HTA’s contractor. There was a discrepancy that affected the departure surveys for the island of Maui from June 2013 to May 2014. The HTA used other sources of visitor data to recalculate the statistics for that period.

2)    Final 2013 Statistics: 2013 visitor data presented in this news release were the final numbers that will be published in the 2013 Annual Visitor Research Report. Final 2013 statistics reflect current Federal I-94 figures, actual air fares and updated reports from airlines and cruise ships. These figures have been updated from the preliminary estimates published in the monthly reports for January 2013 through April 2014.

The final 2013 statistics were 0.8 of a percentage point below the preliminary estimates for total visitor arrivals growth and 0.2 of a percentage point lower than the growth estimated for average daily spending published in the December 2013 visitor statistics highlights.

3)    The 2013 Annual Visitor Research Report, which presents the final detailed statistics on the Hawai‘i visitor industry’s performance in 2013 and provides a comprehensive comparison with 2012 visitor data, will be available on the HTA website in August 2014. https://www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/research/reports/annual-visitor-research/

·         A total of 36,419 visitors came for meetings, conventions and incentives (MCI), 2.4 percent higher compared to May 2013. More visitors came for conventions (+15.5% to 18,881) and corporate meetings (+10.3% to 6,662), but fewer traveled for incentive trips (-14.4% to 12,341). There were 229,587 MCI visitors (+0.3%) in the first five months of 2014.

Highlights of Visitors from All Other Markets:

·         Oceania: The number of visitors from Oceania declined 6.2 percent compared to May 2013. Arrivals from Australia dropped 7.8 percent to 24,403 visitors. Arrivals from New Zealand grew 4.3 percent to 4,267 visitors. For the first five months of 2014, arrivals from Australia rose 1.1 percent while arrivals from New Zealand climbed 76.1 percent from year-to-date 2013 (see Visitor Highlights: Visitor Arrivals by Country by MMA; and Research & Report: Major Market Areas on the HTA website).

·         Other Asia: Arrivals from Other Asia increased 15 percent from last May. Arrivals from China jumped 29.4 percent to 17,021 visitors, supported by new air service.  Arrivals from Korea also increased (+4.9% to 15,140), but arrivals from Taiwan (-25.5% to 793) were lower compared to May 2013. Year-to-date 2014 showed gains in visitors from China (+21.1%), Korea (+13.2%) and Taiwan (+76.2%) compared to the same period last year.

·         Europe: There were 11,147 visitors from the Europe major market area (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland) in May 2014, an increase of 7.1 percent from a year ago. For the first five months of 2014, arrivals from this market grew 12.5 percent to 50,943 visitors.

·         Latin America: Arrivals from Latin America declined 26.5 percent to 2,117 visitors in May 2014. For the first five months of 2014, a total of 12,172 visitors came from this market, down 9.7 percent compared to the same period last year.

Island Highlights for May 2014:

·         O‘ahu: Visitor expenditures on O‘ahu were $546 million (+1%) in May 2014. There were 414,109 visitors to O‘ahu (+0.8%) during the month. Significantly more of these visitors were “day trippers” who stayed one day or less (+53.7%), which resulted in a shorter average length of stay (-4.4% to 6.63 days). The average daily spending increased 4.7 percent to $199 per person.

·         Maui: Visitor expenditures on Maui rose 10.9 percent to $283.4 million. Arrivals grew 3 percent to 187,744 visitors while daily spending ($199 per person) was 1.9 percent higher than May 2013.

·         Kaua‘i: Increases in arrivals (+1.7% to 91,881 visitors) and daily spending (+11.3% to $174 per person) contributed to a 16.6 percent growth in Kaua‘i’s visitor expenditures to $116.8 million.

·         Hawai‘i Island: Although arrivals to Hawai‘i Island declined (-2.6% to 105,568 visitors), a longer average length of stay (+6.2% to 6.82 days) led to a 1.3 percent growth in visitor expenditures to $132.6 million. Daily spending of $184 per person was 2 percent less compared to May 2013.





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