Solid Year for Hawaii Tourism Rolls On

hawaiiTotal expenditures by visitors who came to Hawaii in February 2013 rose 9.9 percent (or $110.2 million) from February 2012, totaling a whopping $1.22 billion, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Contributing to the increase was higher daily spending (+6.6 percent to $198 per person) and a 7.8 percent growth in total arrivals to 675,517 visitors. February 2012 visitor statistics were augmented by an extra leap-day. Factoring out the extra day, the average daily census showed a 6.8 percent gain in visitors in February 2013. 

“We continue to focus on enhancing visitor distribution and economic growth across the state, especially during the slower shoulder periods, in order to maintain balance between resident and visitor needs,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, in a written release. “Through working with our industry partners, we have been able to grow visitor expenditures and arrivals on all of the Hawaiian Islands, with significant increases on the neighbor islands.”

Among Hawaii’s top visitor markets, arrivals by air from the U.S. West Coast grew 8.2 percent to 239,963 visitors in February 2013 while the average daily census rose 9.9 percent. U.S. West Coast total visitor expenditures were up 19.7 percent to $382.5 million. While U.S. East Coast arrivals (144,594 visitors) were comparable to February 2012, the average daily census showed a three percent increase. Total U.S. East Coast visitor spending rose 8.2 percent to $311.7 million.

Arrivals from Japan rose 3.9 percent to 118,926 visitors in February 2013 while the average daily census grew four percent. The average length of stay (5.76 days from 5.96 days) and daily spending ($300 per person from $301 per person) fell slightly compared to February 2012. Japanese visitor expenditures totaled $205.5 million in February 2013, unchanged from a year ago. 

Canadian arrivals increased 1.7 percent to 65,304 visitors in February 2013. However, the average daily census fell 3.7 percent, due to a shorter average length of stay (12.63 days from 13.82 days in February 2012). Total Canadian visitor expenditures were 1.2 percent higher compared to last February at $136.9 million. Arrivals from all other markets increased 26.4 percent, while total visitor expenditures rose 11.8 percent to $181 million in February 2013.   

For the first two months of 2013, total visitor expenditures rose 7.6 percent to $2.66 billion, led by increases from U.S. West Coast (+16.9% to $802.1 million) and U.S. East Coast (+9.5 percent to $706.1 million). Total arrivals grew 6.9 percent to 1,357,371 visitors, while the average daily census rose 4.1 percent. Arrivals from All Other markets grew 11 percent from the first two months of 2012. Total visitor spending rose on all Hawaiian Islands except Lanai compared to year-to-date 2012.

Leading the strong growth in arrivals from all other markets (+26.4 percent) was a tripling of Chinese visitors (to 14,097) compared to February 2012 (5,579 visitors). The shift in the Lunar New Year holidays to February in 2013 from January in 2012 contributed to this increase. In addition, there was double-digit growth in arrivals from Oceania (+31.4 percent to 19,959) and Europe (+11.2 percent to 9,199) compared to last February.

MICE Market Status

The number of visitors who came for meetings, conventions and incentives jumped 30.8 percent from February 2012. Convention visitors climbed 34.2 percent to 28,958 – a private event, held at the Hawaii Convention Center contributed to this increase. In addition, there was a 52.2 percent growth in incentive visitors (to 18,930). Japanese incentive visitors tripled in February 2013 (8,353 visitors, from 2,506 in February 2012), as a number of Japanese companies held events in the islands.  

Contributing to the 8.2 percent growth in U.S. West Coast arrivals in February 2013 were increases from Pacific region (+7.5 percent) states: Alaska (+9.6 percent), California (+7.4 percent), Oregon (+12.3 percent) and Washington (+5.5 percent). 

U.S. East Coast arrivals in February 2013 were equivalent to a year ago. Arrivals from the Middle Atlantic region rose 11.7 percent, supported by increased air service. Arrivals from the New England (+9.1 percent) and South Atlantic (+2.4 percent) regions also increased, offsetting declines from the West North Central (-9.4 percent), East South Central (-4.1 percent), East North Central (-3.1 percent) and West South Central (-2.8 percent) regions. 

Island Report

Among the larger islands, Kauai led the growth in arrivals (+9.5 percent to 90,082) compared to February 2012. Arrivals from the U.S. West Coast rose by double digits (+11.8 percent to 40,927), supported by increased air service to Līhu‘e airport. There were also more visitors from the U.S. East Coast (+4.6 percent to 29,521) and Canada (+6.2 percent to 9,389) compared to last February. While Japanese arrivals to Kaua‘i remained a relatively small segment, there was significant growth (+36.5 percent to 3,077 visitors) from a year ago. Despite a small drop in daily spending (-0.8 percent to $176 per person), total visitor expenditures rose 4.2 percent to $120.4 million.
 
For the first two months of 2013, arrivals to Kauai grew 10 percent to 182,245 visitors, while total visitor expenditures rose 9.3 percent to $257 million.

Arrivals to Hawaii Island grew 8.2 percent to 130,664 visitors with increases from the U.S. West Coast (+6 percent to 47,537) and Japan (+3.2 percent to 16,971) offsetting a 3.7 percent decline from Canada (to 13,629). Growth in daily spending (+9.9 percent to $172 per person) also bolstered Hawaii Island’s total visitor expenditures (+12 percent to $163.2 million). For the first two months of 2013, total arrivals to Hawaii Island rose 7.7 percent to 264,639 visitors. Total visitor expenditures grew 12.9 percent to $380.5 million.

Arrivals to Oahu rose 7.9 percent to 396,084 visitors in February 2013. Higher daily spending (+7.9 percent to $212 per person) also contributed to a 10.9 percent increase in total visitor expenditures to $584.3 million. Growth in arrivals from the U.S. West Coast (+7.7 percent to 104,343), U.S. East Coast  (+3.7 percent to 81,336) and Japan (+3.5 percent to 114,514) offset an 11 percent decline from Canada (to 25,134). Arrivals from China to Oahu nearly tripled to 14,188 visitors, while arrivals from Korea increased 13.5 percent to 13,026 visitors. For the first two months of 2013, arrivals to Oahu grew 6.1 percent to 803,159 visitors and total visitor expenditures increased 5.6 percent to $1.25 billion.

In February 2013, increased arrivals (+5.8 percent to 194,522 visitors) and daily spending (+7.1 percent to $206 per person) contributed to a 9.4 percent growth in Maui’s total visitor expenditures to $339.6 million. There was growth in arrivals from the U.S. West Coast (+7.4 percent to 78,857), Canada (+7.3 percent to 33,602) and Japan (+21.3 percent to 7,197), which offset a five percent decline from the U.S. East Coast (to 53,361). For the first two months of 2013, arrivals to Maui rose 6.2 percent to 395,484 visitors while total expenditures rose 7.5 percent to $731 million.

Air Seats to Hawaii

Total air seats for February 2013 grew 10 percent from last February to 844,874 seats. Total air seats increased for Honolulu (+11.5 percent to 584,026), Kahului (+3.6 percent to 151,399), Kona (+9.8 percent to 57,277) and Lihue (+20.3 percent to 49,132), but declined for Hilo (-41.3 percent to 3,040).

Total scheduled air seats grew 8.7 percent to 824,957. International charter seats quadrupled from last February to 15,501 seats. There were a number of charter flights from Japan, as well as charters from Shanghai, Taipei, Seoul and Sydney. In contrast, domestic charter seats declined 20 percent to 4,416 as a result of fewer charter flights out of Las Vegas.

Scheduled air seats from the U.S. West Coast in February 2013 grew 6.8 percent. New service from Boise, Eugene, Fresno, Mesa, Spokane, Stockton; and increased service from Anchorage, Bellingham, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland and San Jose; offset reduced service from Denver, Salt Lake City and San Francisco.

Seats from the U.S. East Coast jumped 26.8 percent from February 2012. Daily direct service from New York City and Washington D.C., and increased service from Houston and Newark offset fewer seats out of Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas.

Scheduled seats out of Japan grew 5.2 percent compared to February 2012 due to new service from Sapporo and increased service from Fukuoka, Osaka and Narita, which offset reduced service from Haneda and Nagoya.

Scheduled seats out of Canada decreased 3.6 percent, mainly due to fewer seats from Vancouver and Calgary, which offset more seats out of Edmonton.

Oceania air seats increased 22 percent, boosted by additional seats from Sydney and Auckland.  Hawaiian Airlines launched a new route from Brisbane in late November and Jetstar restarted service from Melbourne in December 2012.

Cruise Ship Visitors

The total number of visitors who came by cruise ships or by air to board cruise ships increased 29.7 percent to 34,864 visitors in February 2013. Total cruise ship visitor days rose 20.5 percent from last February.

In February 2013, 14 cruise ships brought 25,442 visitors to the islands compared to 10 ships with 17,586 visitors in February 2012. 

For the first two months of 2013, a total of 62,529 visitors came by cruise ship or by air to board cruise ships, an increase of 24.7 percent from the same period last year. Visitor days for all cruise visitors rose 19.9 percent.

In the first two months of 2013, 43,681 visitors came aboard 23 out-of-state cruise ships. This is 39.3 percent higher compared to the 31,350 visitors that boarded the 19 cruise ships during the same period in 2012. 

“Going into the second quarter, we are supporting and marketing events like Mele Mei and the LPGA Lotte Championship, which will help to boost travel during the slower months of April and May,” said McCartney. “North America’s longer-than-anticipated winter season is also contributing to positive arrivals as visitors opt to travel to the Hawaiian Islands for our year-round tropical climate.”

Visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all the latest Hawaii happenings.

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