Arrivals by air to the Hawaiian Islands set a new record for the month of August, with an increase of 2.9 percent to 755,863 visitors, according to preliminary statistics recently released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).
Most major market areas saw growth in arrivals, led by U.S. West (up 2.8 percent to 313,181) and U.S. East (up 2.4 percent to 146,052 visitors). Arrivals from Canada rose 8.8 percent to 28,214 visitors while Japanese arrivals of 157,543 visitors (up 0.5 percent) was comparable to August 2014. Arrivals from all other markets increased 5.8 percent to 110,871 visitors.
"While the growth in August was not as strong as in previous months, Hawaii's visitor industry continues to exceed 2014 records in spending and arrivals," said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, in a written release.
Despite gains in visitor volumes, lower daily spending across many visitor markets resulted in flat growth in total visitor expenditures for August 2015. Decreased daily spending contributed to losses in Japanese (down 8.2 percent to $226 million) and U.S. East ( down 2.5 percent to $287.4 million) visitor expenditures. For the U.S. West and Canadian markets, growth in arrivals offset a slight drop in daily spending. U.S. West expenditures rose slightly (up 0.8 percent) to $449.8 million in August 2015 while Canadian visitor expenditures (up 6.9 percent to $49.3 million) also increased.
All four larger Hawaiian Islands saw growth in arrivals: Maui (up 5.3 percent), Kauai (up 2.3 percent), Hawaii Island (up 2.2 percent) and Oahu (up 1.6 percent), which contributed to growth in visitor days on all four islands. Expenditures increased for Maui (up one percent to $333.6 million), Hawaii Island (up 3.1 percent to $161.9 million) and Kauai (up 10.2 percent to $130.4 million) but declined for Oahu (down 3.2 percent to $637.7 million). On Lanai, with most of the hotel rooms on the island closed for renovation, arrivals declined 20.3 percent while visitor expenditures were reduced by two-thirds (down 67.2 percent to $2 million) compared to August 2014.
There were 1,074,914 total air seats to Hawaii in August 2015, up 5.4 percent from the same month last year. Growth in scheduled seats from Canada (up 30 percent), Oceania (up 13.4 percent), U.S. East (up 8 percent), Japan (up 6.6 percent) and U.S. West (up 4.7 percent) offset a 1.8 percent decline in available capacity from "Other Asia." No out-of-state cruise ships came to the islands in August 2015 or August 2014.
"In addition to pacing at record-breaking levels, air seats to the Hawaiian Islands are at an all-time high, boosting arrivals from most of our markets," said Szigeti. "And while we are pleased with this continued growth for the lead economic driver for the state, we are monitoring various conditions that could impact our industry. Fuel prices have been dropping, the international stock market continues to be in-flux, and economic conditions in both Europe and Asia have been unstable. All of these factors could have a potential impact on spending and arrivals to the state."