Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands spent a total of $1.59 billion in July, an increase of 9.8 percent compared to a year ago, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).
Total visitor arrivals rose 6.8 percent to 891,878 visitors, bolstered by growth in arrivals from air ( up 6.4 percent to 888,236) and cruise ships (up 282.5 percent to 3,641).
“July is typically the peak month of the year for Hawaii tourism and one that industry partners count on to generate good results,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the HTA, in a written release. “Even so, the 9.8 increase in visitor spending and 6.8 percent increase in visitor arrivals in July completely exceeds any forecasts that were made for the month. That sentiment is also true for the first seven months of the year.”
Of Hawaii’s major markets, the U.S. East reported the largest gain in visitor spending in July (up 21.7 percent to $452.5 million) compared to a year ago. Visitor arrivals were up significantly ( up 11 percent to 208,530), supported by increased air seat capacity from Dallas and Minneapolis. Average daily visitor spending was also higher (up 10.2 percent to $215 per person).
Spending by visitors from U.S West rose in July 2017 (up 9.5 percent to $598.8 million) versus last year, boosted by an increase in arrivals (up 5.4 percent to 385,235 visitors) and higher daily spending (up 3.7 percent to $168 per person).
“We recognize some residents have expressed concerns about the growth of tourism on our islands’ way of life,” said Szigeti. “Sustainable tourism is a balance that our tourism industry is striving to achieve for the good of everyone. This topic is a discussion that requires public and private stakeholders to come together and find solutions that will benefit both our leading industry and the community-at-large.”
The Japan market continued to report year-over-year growth in visitor spending and arrivals in July 2017 due to increased air service to Kona and Honolulu. Visitor spending grew (up 5.5 percent to $192.5 million), fueled by increased arrivals (up seven percent to 136,300), which offset slightly lower daily spending ( down 1.6 percent to $232 per person).
“Our state is very fortunate that demand for the Hawaii travel experience continues to be strong in 2017, especially from the U.S. mainland and Japan,” said Szigeti. “Hawaii’s economy as a whole is benefiting from tourism’s unexpected degree of success, with the positive impact extending to our state tax base. Through the first seven months, Hawaii’s tourism industry has generated $1.16 billion in State tax revenue, an increase of $94.8 million over the same period last year. This revenue helps our State to support programs that makes our communities stronger, especially for those in need.”
For the Canada market, visitor spending decreased in July ( down 8.9 percent to $46.6 million) compared to last year. Visitor arrivals rose (up 3.4 percent to 26,691) but daily spending declined (down 10.6 percent to $148 per person) from a year ago.