Total visitor arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands in May rose 1.3 percent from a year ago to 718,913 visitors, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA). Total visitor days increased 1.1 percent compared to May of 2015.
“Visitor arrivals and expenditures year-to-date show that Hawaii is still ahead of last year’s record-setting pace with total arrivals up 3.1 percent and spending up one percent,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), in a written release. “Visitors from our two largest markets, the U.S. West and East, led arrivals in May and continues its positive course of year-over-year growth, despite a slight drop in arrivals last month due to travel around Easter holiday falling in March instead of April this year.”
Arrivals by airlines grew 1.6 percent to 709,566 visitors, led by increases from U.S. West (up 3.3 percent to 305,182) and U.S. East (up 1.8 percent to 156,238). There were fewer visitors from Japan (down 1.4 percent to 113,966) and Canada (down 17.7 percent to 21,779), but more visitors came from "All Other International" markets (up 4.5 percent to 112,402).
Fewer visitors arrived by cruise ships (down 15.7 percent to 9,347) in May with four out-of-state ships visiting the islands versus six ships in May of 2015.
“On the international side, arrivals from Korea were strong in May seeing a double digit increase year-over-year,” said Szigeti. “However, declines in arrivals and expenditures from the Japan and Canada markets can be attributed to a weaker exchange rate and the fact that Golden Week in Japan shifted travel to late April this year versus the first week of May in 2015.”
Despite increased visitor volumes, lower daily spending across most visitor markets resulted in decreased total visitor expenditures (down 2.4 percent to $1.2 billion) for May 2016.
Among the top four visitor markets, only Canada showed higher daily visitor spending. However, fewer arrivals led to a drop in overall Canadian visitor expenditures (down 15.1 percent to $38.6 million). Decreased daily spending contributed to losses in U.S. West (down 1.8 percent $439.3 million) and Japanese (down 10.1 percent to $154.9 million) visitor expenditures and no growth in U.S. East visitor expenditures (down 0.3 percent to $301.4 million) compared to May 2015.
“We are also closely monitoring the situation in Europe and how that may affect travel,” said Szigeti. “It’s too early to know precisely how the situation there will affect the global economy, including tourism related impacts. In 2015, 143,434 visitors from Europe came to Hawaii, with 50,469 of that total coming from the United Kingdom. This represents less than two percent of the 8.6 million visitors who came to Hawaii last year.”