Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands spent a total of $1.39 billion in August 2017, an increase of 6.1 percent compared to August 2016, according to preliminary statistics recently released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).
“Knowing summer is the peak period for leisure travel globally, our state’s tourism industry partners deserve a collective thank you for how they continued to elevate Hawaii as a premier destination experience in August,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the HTA, in a written statement. “The solid increases in visitor spending reported for all four major islands was a notable highlight.”
Total visitor arrivals rose 4.8 percent to 818,581 visitors in August, marked by growth in arrivals from both air service (up 4.8 percent to 815,949) and cruise ships (up 39.8 percent to 2,632).
The U.S. East market reported the largest gain in visitor spending in August (up 11.7 percent to $328.3 million) year-over-year. Daily spending (up five percent to $211 per person) was higher compared to a year ago and arrivals also grew (up 6.6 percent to 159,572) supported by increased air seats from Minneapolis, Dallas and Chicago.
The Japan market continued to realize growth in visitor spending (up 9.4 percent to $231.6 million), visitor arrivals (up 5.2 percent to 160,424) and daily spending (up two percent to $224 per person) in August, boosted by the additional direct flights serving Honolulu and Kona that began in prior months.
Spending by U.S. West visitors increased in August (up 1.5 percent to $489.9 million). Arrivals were up (up 3.7 percent to 342,054), but a shorter length of stay (down three percent to 8.51 days) resulted in marginal growth in visitor days (up 0.6 percent). Daily spending (up 0.9 percent to $168 per person) rose slightly versus last year.
Total air seats serving Hawaii rose in August (up 3.3 percent to 1,096,537) year-over-year. Double-digit growth was realized in scheduled air seats from Japan (up 15.6 percent) and U.S. East (up 13.9 percent), with seats from "Other Asia" (up 0.9 percent) and the U.S. West (up 0.4 percent) also rising slightly. These increases entirely offset the fewer seats that came from Oceania (down 3.3 percent).
Total visitor spending increased through the first eight months of 2017 (up 8.5 percent to $11.34 billion), bolstered by growth in arrivals (up 4.7 percent to 6,315,435) and daily spending (up 3.9 percent to $199 per person).
Year-to-date, U.S. West (up 9.9 percent to $4.15 billion), U.S. East (up 12.8 percent to $2.99 billion), Japan (up 11.8 percent to $1.49 billion) and Canada (up 8.6 percent to $706.2 million) have all reported growth in visitor spending compared to the same period last year.
“Two key economic figures for the first eight months of 2017 reveal how fortunate our State’s tourism industry has been this year,” said Szigeti. “Through August 2017, visitor spending statewide is at $11.34 billion and the state tax revenue generated by tourism is $1.32 billion.”
Visitor spending from "All Other International" markets declined year-to-date (down 1.8 percent to $1.98 billion), due to decreased arrivals (down 2.1 percent to 864,074) and lower daily spending (down 2.5 percent to $241 per person)compared to the first eight months of 2016.
“By comparison, when Hawaii was starting to emerge from the Great Recession in 2010, the tourism industry realized $11.01 billion in total visitor spending and generated $1.05 billion in state tax revenue for the entire year,” said Szigeti. “With four months to go in 2017, our tourism industry has already surpassed both of the full-year totals from just seven years ago.”