Categorized | Business

Visitor expenditures fall; total visitor days grow


Total air visitor spending for the month of April 2009, fell 12.3 percent or $108.1 million, from April 2008, to $773.4 million, according to preliminary statistics released by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT).

The decrease resulted from lower average daily visitor spending ($160 per person, down from $186 per person in April 2008) and a 1.5 percent drop in visitor arrivals by air to 530,316 visitors.

Total visitor days for air and cruise visitors in April 2009 grew 1.8 percent from last April, thanks to a longer average length of stay by these visitors (9.13 days, compared to 8.85 days in the same month last year). 

Total arrivals by air and cruise visitors dipped 1.3 percent from April 2008.

Among the top four visitor markets, April 2009 air arrivals from the U.S. West declined 1.6 percent; while air arrivals from the U.S. East fell 6.5 percent from last April. Arrivals by air from Japan rose 8.8 percent, the largest increase since March 2005 (+11.6%). Arrivals by air from Canada were up 6.9 percent, the first increase since October 2008 (+7.6%).

“Beginning this month (April), statistical comparisons between 2009 and 2008 will better reflect the health of the visitor industry in Hawaii. Visitor data from April forward reflects the data collected in 2008 with the departure of Aloha and ATA airlines,” said Marsha Wienert, tourism liaison. “Easter and spring break in 2009 fell in April which helped with visitor arrivals as did an increase in visitors who came to attend a convention. As we move through the remainder of 2009 the health of the visitor industry and our economy will be dependent on visitor spending and not necessarily on visitor arrivals.”

Total expenditures by visitors who came by air in the first four months of 2009 declined 16.7 percent compared to the same period last year to $3.4 billion.

For the first four months of 2009, total visitor days for air and cruise visitors declined 10 percent. Total arrivals by air and cruise dropped 11.1 percent from the same period last year to 2,146,975 visitors.

Year-to-date, arrivals by air totaled 2,097,448 visitors, 11.5 percent fewer compared to the same period last year. The average daily spending was $168 per person, down from $181 per person from the first four months of 2008. 

Other Highlights:

* U.S. East arrivals to Maui (-16.5%) and Kauai (-15.5%) declined by double digits but increased 6.4 percent on Hawaii Island. Significantly more U.S. East visitors stayed only on Hawaii Island (+27%) compared to April 2008.

* Among the major Hawaiian Islands, Oahu and Hawaii Island experienced growth in visitor days and visitor arrivals from three out of the top four major visitor markets compared to April 2008. Growth in visitors to Hawaii Island was supported by additions of flights from Los Angeles and new service from Seattle.

* A total of 22,248 visitors came to attend conventions in April 2009, up 9.8 percent from last April. Most of the growth in convention visitors were from U.S. West (+7.1%) and Canada (+120.6%). Contributing to the increase were the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine convention with 5,675 attendees and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry convention with 3,467 attendees in the islands.

* There were more repeat visitors from the U.S. West in April 2009 (81.3%), compared to the same month last year (79.2%). The average length of stay by all U.S. West was 8.93 days, compared to 9.02 days last April.

* Despite lower daily spending by Japanese visitors ($261 per person, down from $285 in April 2008), growth in arrivals contributed to a 3.7 percent increase in total spending by Japanese visitors to $128.2 million in April 2009.

* The strong growth in Japanese arrivals (+8.8%) was driven by two factors: lower travel costs due to reductions in fuel surcharges and more favorable exchange rates; and a fortunate timing of national holidays in 2009 for Japan’s Golden Week created a longer sequence of possible vacation days which favored overseas travel to longer-haul destinations such as Hawaii.

* Japanese honeymooners rose 14.2 percent from April 2008 to 20,679 visitors. For the first four months of 2009, 70,311 Japanese visitors came to honeymoon in the islands, up 20.2 percent from year-to-date 2008.

* Oahu (+11%), Hawaii Island (+11.4%) and Maui (+14.5%) saw double digit increases in Japanese arrivals compared to April 2008. There were also more repeat visitors from Japan in April 2009 compared to last April (56% versus 52.6%).

* More Canadians in April 2009 visited Oahu (+7.2%), Hawaii island (+24.9%) and Kauai (+10.9%) compared to last April.

* All islands reported lower visitor expenditures this month compared to April 2008. Total visitor expenditures on Oahu decreased 4.7 percent to $401 million. Total expenditures on Maui fell 18.7 percent to $197.3 million; total visitor spending on Hawaii Island declined 18 percent to $94.2 million; while total visitor spending on Kauai dropped 17.4 percent to $73.7 million.

* Total air seats to Hawaii for April 2009 rose slightly (+0.7%) compared to last April. Increases in seat capacity from the U.S. West (+4%), Japan (+3.5%) and Other Asia (+18.6%) offset fewer seats from the U.S. East (-15.3%), Canada (-12.3%) and Australia/New Zealand (-12.6%).

* For the first four months of 2009, total air seats to Hawaii declined 13.9 percent due to decreases in seats from the U.S. East (-24%), Canada (-20.7%), the U.S. West (-14.5%) and Japan (-6.1%).

* A total of 24,267 cruise visitors came by air to board a cruise ship or arrived by cruise ship in April 2009, up 7.3 percent from the same month last year, the first increase since November 2007 (+6.5%).

* Six out-of-state cruise ships brought 11,294 visitors by ship. Two of the six ships also had back-to-back continuous tours during the month where cruise passengers flew to the islands to board these out-of-state ships.

* The average length of stay by all cruise visitors during the month was 10.03 days.

* In year-to-date 2009, 88,305 visitors came by cruise ship or by air to board cruise ships, 24.9 percent lower compared to the same period last year. Visitor days for all cruise visitors decreased 28.7 percent.

* Year-to-date, 49,527 visitors came by cruise ships, up 7.2 percent, while total visitor days for those who came by cruise ships rose 3.8 percent.

— Find out more

Department of Business, Economic Developement and Tourism:

One Response to “Visitor expenditures fall; total visitor days grow”

  1. People are really watching their spending, more thrifty vacation ideas should lure them in.


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