Categorized | Business

Visitor arrivals up 7.6% for March


Total expenditures by visitors who came to Hawaii in March 2013 rose 7.8 percent (or $91.8 million) from March 2012, to $1.3 billion1 according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Contributing to this increase was a growth in total arrivals (+7.6% to 769,047 visitors) and higher daily spending (+3.3% to $186 per person), which offset a shorter length of stay (-3% to 8.93 days).

Among Hawaii’s top visitor markets, arrivals by air from U.S. West grew 11.5 percent to 295,510 visitors in March 2013. A shift in the Easter/spring break schedule to March in 2013 from April in 2012 contributed to this increase. U.S. West total visitor expenditures climbed 21.9 percent to $440.9 million. U.S. East arrivals were up 1.6 percent to 165,508 visitors, while total visitor spending rose 5.6 percent to $295.5 million.

Arrivals from Japan increased 4.3 percent to 127,543 visitors in March 2013. Despite lower daily spending (-2.4% to $266 per person), total Japanese visitor expenditures grew 2.3 percent to $205 million.

A total of 74,705 visitors arrived from Canada in March 2013, 2.5 percent higher than March 2012. Total Canadian visitor expenditures rose 8 percent to $144.8 million. Arrivals from All Other2 markets increased 14.6 percent. However, a shorter length of stay (9.81 days, down from 10.88 days in March 2012) resulted in a 9.9 percent drop in total visitor expenditures to $182.2 million.

Arrivals by cruise ships grew 16.9 percent from March 2012 to 22,408 visitors.

First Quarter 2013:

For the first quarter of 2013, total visitor expenditures rose 7.6 percent to $3.9 billion, led by increases from U.S. West (+18.7% to $1.2 billion) and U.S. East (+8.3% to $1 billion). Total arrivals grew 7.1 from the first quarter of 2012 to 2,126,418 visitors. While arrivals from U.S. West (+9.7%), U.S. East (+1.3%), Japan (+5.3%) and Canada (+3.1%) showed moderate growth, there were significant increases in the smaller Oceania (+33%), Other Asia (+24.1%), Europe (+12.8%) and Latin America (+31%) visitor markets.

The four larger Hawaiian Islands, showed growth in total visitor expenditures and arrivals compared to the first quarter of 2012: Oahu (+8.6% to $1.9 billion; +7% to 1,248,755 visitors); Maui (+2.5% to $1.1 billion; +5% to 617,052 visitors); Hawaii Island (+11.7% to $547.5 million; +5.3% to 400,441 visitors) and Kauai (+10.9% to $382 million; +6.8% to 278,098 visitors).

Other Highlights:

* Contributing to the 11.5 percent growth in U.S. West arrivals in March 2013 were increases from the Pacific (+12.8%) and Mountain (+4.4%) regions. Arrivals from California jumped 16 percent to 146,733 visitors. Many schools in California shifted their spring break schedule to March in 2013 from April in 2012 to coincide with Easter. Arrivals from Washington (+10.8% to 45,707), Oregon (+3.5% to 22,658), Arizona (+10% to 15,910), Utah (+17.3% to 10,603) and Nevada (+14.4% to 7,680) were also higher compared to March 2012. The first quarter of 2013 saw growth from all Pacific region states, led by an 11.3 percent increase from California.

* U.S. East arrivals in March 2013 rose 1.6 percent from last March. Arrivals from the Middle Atlantic region climbed 29.9 percent, supported by increased air service. Arrivals from the South Atlantic (+2.1%) region were also higher, offsetting declines from the East South Central (-8.1%), East North Central (-5.4%), West South Central (-5.1%), West North Central (-1.7%) and New England (-0.7%) regions. For the first quarter of 2013, arrivals increased from the Middle Atlantic (+18.5%), New England (+5.5%), and South Atlantic (+2.3%) regions.

* A total of 247,307 visitors from All Other markets came to the Hawaiian Islands in the first quarter of 2013, an increase of 12.2 percent from the same quarter last year. Supported by increased air service, arrivals from Oceania jumped 33 percent (to 74,697 visitors) with double-digit growth from Australia (+29.1% to 67,819) and New Zealand (+88.6% to 6,878).

Strong growth from China (+42.7% to 35,566) and Korea (+11.4% 39,201) bolstered arrivals from Other Asia by 24.1 percent to 79,971 visitors. Arrivals from Europe rose 12.8 percent to 28,599 visitors with increases from United Kingdom (+13.8% to 11,202), Germany (+13.1% 9,275), France (+13.5% to 3,930) and Switzerland (+15.6% to 3,002). (See Visitor Arrivals by Country by MMAs on the HTA website)

* March 2013 showed a 5.4 percent decrease in total Meetings, Conventions and Incentive (MCI) visitors (to 38,252). However, total MCI visitors rose 9.4 percent (to 149,471) during the first quarter of 2013 buoyed by strong growth in incentive visitors (+49.5% to 48,665).

* Fewer visitors came to honeymoon (-2.6% to 39,258) compared to March 2012. Decreases from Japan (-20% to 16,127) and U.S. West (-10.5% to 5,900) offset growth from All Other (+39.8% to 11,355) and U.S. East (+4.5% to 4,972) markets. For the first quarter of 2013, total honeymooners rose 1.2 percent to 111,908 visitors.

* More visitors came to get married (+19.5% to 9,785) in March 2013, mainly due to increases from Japan (+22% to 4,693) and U.S. West (+10.7% to 2,438). For the first quarter of 2013, fewer visitors came to get married (-2.1% to 25,902) compared to the same quarter last year.

Island Highlights:

* Oahu: Among the larger islands, Oahu led the growth in arrivals (+8.6% to 445,596) compared to March 2012. Growth in arrivals from U.S. West (+16.5% to 130,198) and Japan (+4.5% to 123,202) offset a 3.5 percent decline from Canada (to 27,870). Arrivals to Oahu from China (to 9,907) and New Zealand (to 2,540) doubled and arrivals from Australia (+39.8% to 23,825) and Korea (+27.6% to 13,016) rose by double-digits. Higher daily spending (+9.3% to $201 per person) also contributed to a 15.1 percent increase in total visitor expenditures to $637.8 million.

* Maui: In March 2013, arrivals to Maui rose 3 percent to 221,568 visitors, with increases from U.S. West (+5.1% to 96,465) and Canada (+4.4% to 39,767), offsetting declines from U.S. East (-3.1% to 58,625) and Japan (-5.7% to 5,753). However, lower daily spending (-11.3% to $179 per person) and a slightly shorter length of stay (-1.1% to 9.45 days) resulted in a 7.1 percent decrease in Maui’s total visitor expenditures to $328.5 million.

* Kauai: Higher daily spending (+7.9% to $170 per person) and a 1.2 percent growth in arrivals (to 95,853 visitors) contributed to a 14.4 percent increase in Kauai’s total visitor expenditures to $125 million. Arrivals from U.S. West rose 8 percent to 48,705 supported by increased air service to Lihue airport. However, U.S. East (-6.3% to 28,899) and Canadian (-7.2% to 8,406) arrivals were lower compared to March 2012.

* Hawaii Island: Similar to Kauai, higher daily spending (+10.6% to $175 per person) and moderate growth in arrivals (+1% to 135,802) contributed to a 9 percent increase in total visitor spending on Hawaii Island to $167.1 million. There was growth in arrivals from U.S. West (+3.9% to 55,283) and U.S. East (+2.6% to 35,848) compared to March 2012. However, Japanese arrivals dropped 8.3 percent (to 15,769) after fourteen months of consecutive increases. Canadian arrivals fell 5.6 percent to 12,025 visitors.

Air Seats to Hawaii:

* Total air seats for March 2013 rose 12.7 percent to 971,404 seats. Total air seats increased for Honolulu (+16.5% to 669,541), Kahului (+4.9% to 177,254), Kona (+2.8% to 65,725) and Lihue (+12.8% to 55,540), but declined for Hilo (-31.3% to 3,344).

* Total scheduled air seats grew 12.2 percent to 956,733. International charter seats tripled from March 2012 to 9,979 seats. There were a number of charter flights from Japan, as well as charters from Sydney, Majuro and Seoul. In contrast, domestic charter seats fell 22.7 percent to 4,692 as a result of fewer charter flights out of Las Vegas.

* Scheduled air seats from U.S. West in March 2013 grew 8.6 percent. New service from Boise, Eugene, Fresno, Mesa, Spokane and Stockton; and increased service from Anchorage, Bellingham, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland and San Jose; offset reduced service from Denver, Salt Lake City and San Francisco; and discontinued service from Orange County.

* Seats from U.S. East climbed 29.5 percent compared to March 2012. Daily direct service from New York City and Washington D.C. and increased service from Newark and Chicago offset fewer seats out of Atlanta and Houston.

* Scheduled seats out of Japan grew 12.4 percent compared to March 2012 due to new service from Sapporo and increased service from Fukuoka, Osaka, Nagoya and Narita, which offset reduced service from Haneda.

* Scheduled seats out of Canada in March 2013 were slightly higher (+0.6%) compared to a year ago. Fewer seats from Calgary were offset by increased seats from Vancouver and Edmonton.

* Oceania air seats jumped 74.3 percent, boosted by a doubling of seats from Auckland. In addition, Hawaiian Airlines launched a new route from Brisbane in late November 2012 Jetstar restarted service from Melbourne in December 2012 and there was increased service from Sydney.

* Scheduled seats from Other Asia rose 28.8 percent from March 2012 as increased service boosted seats from Seoul. Seats out of Shanghai also increased with the addition of one more weekly flight by China Eastern Airlines in January 2013.

* For the first quarter of 2013, total air seats grew 11.1 percent, with increased seats to LÄ«hue (+20.3%), Honolulu (+12.6%), Kona (+7.5%) and Kahului (+6.1%) offsetting fewer seats from Hilo (-32.5%). There were significantly more scheduled seats from U.S. East (+29.3%), Other Asia (+30.9%) and Oceania (+34%) compared to the first quarter of 2012. Scheduled seats from Japan (+10%) and U.S. West (+8.3%) also increased offsetting slightly fewer seats from Canada (-0.7%).

Cruise Ship Visitors

* The total number of visitors who came by cruise ships or by air to board cruise ships declined 4.6 percent to 29,024 visitors in March 2013. Total cruise ship visitor days fell 19.1 percent from March 2012. The Hawaii home-ported cruise ship was in dry dock for two weeks for routine maintenance and contributed to the lower number of cruise visitors who came by air (-41.3%).

* In March 2013, 11 cruise ships brought 22,408 visitors to the islands compared to nine ships with 19,173 visitors in March 2012.

* For the first quarter of 2013, a total of 91,553 visitors came by cruise ship or by air to board cruise ships, an increase of 13.6 percent from the same quarter last year. Visitor days for all cruise visitors rose 4.6 percent.

* In the first quarter of 2013, 66,089 visitors came aboard 34 out-of-state cruise ships. This is 30.8 percent higher compared to the 50,523 visitors that boarded the 28 cruise ships during the same period in 2012.

Mike McCartney, President and CEO Hawaii Tourism Authority

“The first quarter of 2013 surpassed last year’s record-breaking visitor spending numbers, pouring $279 million more into Hawaii’s tourism economy and contributing $29 million in state tax revenue. Every day, an average of $44 million was spent in the state from January through March: $21 million on Oahu, $12 million in Maui County, $6 million on Hawaii Island and $4 million on Kauai.

While we are pleased that we continue to see growth in visitor expenditures and arrivals month-over-month, we anticipate seeing more moderate growth later in the year. Spending and arrivals have been on the upswing, but there has been a decrease in visitor average length of stay for markets like U.S. West and Canada, which could be an indication that visitors may be reaching their spending threshold. Furthermore, the reduction of service from the U.S. East and U.S. West and the weakening Japanese yen could also have an effect on arrivals and spending this year.

Due to the fragile nature of the tourism economy, the HTA understands the importance of sustaining and diversifying global market share in an industry based on discretionary spending. Therefore, the HTA continues to focus efforts on enhancing meetings, conventions and incentive (MCI) business and distributing visitors across all of the Hawaiian Islands particularly during off-peak seasons. We will also continue our efforts in our core North America and Japan markets, while also growing and supporting airlift from other markets like Oceania, Korea, China and Taiwan, in order to help maintain Hawaii’s competitive advantage.

By stimulating commerce and growth for the state’s number one industry, tourism continues to support more than 166,000 jobs for Hawaii’s residents. The HTA continues to work with its global marketing contractors and industry partners in order to monitor and sustain smart growth of our state’s tourism economy.”

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