For July, visitor spending topped $1.42 billion (up four percent) and visitor arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands gained another 5.6 percent, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).
"The growth we have been experiencing is keeping us on track for another milestone year for Hawaii's visitor industry," said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, in a written release. "While the growth is not as significant as in previous years, we are still projecting to reach new records in spending and arrivals for 2015."
Most major market areas experienced increased arrivals, led by a 7.2 percent jump in visitors from U.S. West (23,681 more visitors than last year) and U.S. East ( up 4.9 percent, 8,653 more visitors). The volume of visitors from Canada and Japan grew 9.5 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively. July turned out to be the busiest month on record with 816,345 visitors who arrived by air or by cruise ship.
Despite the gain in visitor arrivals, only U.S. West saw higher personal daily spending (up 4.3 percent to $162 per person per day) in July. Furthermore, total expenditures by U.S. West (up 10.8 percent to $539.1 million) and Canadian (up 3.6 percent to $47.3 million) visitors increased, while Japanese visitor expenditures declined 5.4 percent to $194.6 million. U.S. East visitor expenditures of $382.4 million (down 0.4 percent) was similar to 2014.
"While our U.S. West and Oceania markets have been doing particularly well, we remain cognizant of global economic uncertainty as we move forward," said Szigeti. "A slowing of China's economy and fluctuations in the domestic and international stock markets, coupled with the strengthening of the U.S. dollar could impact both our domestic and international visitor arrivals and spending trends. We continue to work with our global market contractors to adjust our marketing efforts in response to these economic factors."
All four larger Hawaiian Islands saw growth in arrivals: Maui (up 7.6 percent), Hawaii Island (up 5.6 percent), Oahu (up 3.1 percent) and Kauai (up 2.7 percent), which contributed to visitor days and visitor expenditure growth on all four islands. However, Lanai witnessed a drastic drop in visitors (down 24.5 percent) and total visitor spending (down 81.4 percent) with only 11 hotels rooms on the entire island currently in operation.