Categorized | Business

Total visitor spending up 8.5% in February


Total expenditures by visitors who came to Hawaii in February 2012 rose 8.5 percent (or $85.7 million) to $1.099 billion, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Higher daily visitor spending ($183 per person, up from $179 per person in February 2011) contributed to this increase. The extra leap-day in February 2012 further augmented total visitor spending and arrivals.

Total arrivals in February 2012 rose 5.6 percent to 626,367 visitors. Factoring out the extra day, average daily census showed that actual growth was up 2.5 percent over a year ago (207,298 visitors per day in February 2012); and an adjusted total visitor spending of $1.061 billion would still be 4.7 percent above February 2011 levels.

February’s performance contributed to an 11.4 percent increase in visitor expenditures to $2.44 billion for the first two months of 2012; and total arrivals rose 6.7 percent to 1,269,983 visitors. The average daily census showed 216,787 visitors in the first two months of 2012, up 5.7 percent compared to the same period last year.

Among the top four visitor markets, arrivals by air from Canada rose 9.6 percent and the average daily census grew 11.4 percent from February 2011. Total Canadian visitor expenditures in February 2012 grew 8.5 percent to $135.2 million, continuing a trend of consecutive increases since January 2011.

Japanese arrivals by air in February 2012 rose 4.7 percent while average daily census increased 3.7 percent. Higher daily spending (+5% to $302 per person) also contributed to a 12.8 percent growth in total Japanese visitor expenditures to $193.5 million.

U.S. West arrivals by air rose 3.8 percent but the average daily census showed a slower pace of 0.9 percent. Total expenditures by U.S. West visitors rose 3.4 percent to $313.2 million.

Average daily census for U.S. East visitors showed a 2.4 percent decrease even though arrivals by air were up 1.8 percent compared to February 2011. Lower daily spending (-3% to $179 per person) resulted in a 1.9 percent drop in total U.S. visitors’ spending to $278.7 million.

Additional Highlights:

* The total number of visitors in February 2012 who came for conventions (-12.6%), corporate meetings (-10.6%) and incentives (-25.3%) were lower compared to a year ago. However, for the first two months of 2012, total MCI visitors increased 2.5 percent from the same period last year.

* A total of 38,263 visitors came to honeymoon in the islands, up 26.1 percent compared to February 2011. Japanese visitors, which accounted for 54 percent of all honeymooners in February 2012, increased 30 percent. Year-to-date, total honeymoon visitors rose 14.4 percent compared to the first two months of 2011.

* In February 2012, the drop in group tour activities (-25.7% to 52,872 visitors) was the result of decreases from Japan (-30.9% to 27,129 visitors), U.S. West (-16.7% to 4,576 visitors) and Canada (-45.6% to 1,481 visitors).

* Over the last two years there have been more total visitors who made their own travel arrangements (FIT). In February 2012, total FIT visitors rose 9.1 percent to 398,717 visitors. Japanese FIT visitors climbed 37.3 percent compared to February 2011, the fourth month of double-digit increases for this segment.

* Contributing to the growth in U.S. West visitors in February 2012 was an 11.6 percent increase from California, which offset declines from Oregon (-10.3%), Washington (-5%) and Alaska (- 4.4%). Arrivals from the Mountain region rose 6.2 percent (Table 2, Page 11).

* In U.S. East, with the exception of losses from the New England region, all other regions showed growth in visitor arrivals for February 2012, and for the first two months of 2012.

* Significantly more Canadian visitors in February 2012 stayed in condominium (+12.2%) and timeshare (+12%) properties compared to a year ago.

Island Highlights:

* Total visitor expenditures rose on all islands except Molokai (-8.7%) compared to February 2011. Each island saw increased visitor arrivals in February 2012 compared to a year ago.

* For Kauai, growth in arrivals (+6.9%) and higher daily spending (+8.6% to $175 per person per day) in February 2012, contributed to a 16.2 percent increase in visitor expenditures to $114 million. This was the 15th straight month of increases in total visitor expenditures for this island. A 14 percent jump in U.S. West arrivals, supported by more direct air service to Lihue, contributed to the growth in February 2012. However, there were fewer U.S. East (-0.7%), Canadian (-2.5%) and Japanese (-11.8%) visitors to Kauai compared to February 2011. On Feb. 4, 2012, a second group of Chinese business executives arrived by charter to Kauai.

* Total arrivals to Oahu increased 5.2 percent from February 2011. Growth in arrivals from U.S. West (+3.3%), Japan (+5.7%) and Canada (+5%) offset a slight decline from U.S. East (-0.9%).

* Total arrivals to Maui rose 4.3 percent compared February 2011, boosted by a 13.1 percent increase from Canada. While Japanese arrivals to Maui remained a relatively small segment, there was significant growth (+32.1% to 5,584 visitors) compared to a year ago.

* Total arrivals to Hawaii Island grew 3.2 percent compared to last February, with increases from U.S. West (+1%), U.S. East (+6.3%), Japan (+7.6%) and Canada (+14%).

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