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Maui Visitor Spending Grew 6.8% in March 2017

April 28, 2017, 2:08 PM HST · Updated April 28, 2:10 PM
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Keawakapu Beach. Maui. File photo by Sonia Isotov

Visitor spending on Maui grew (+6.8% to $423.7 million) in March 2017, boosted by increased daily spending (+6.7% to $217 per person), according to preliminary data released today by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.

There was no growth in visitor days (+0.1%) as a large increase in day-trip visitors (+32.9%) resulted in a shorter average length of stay (-2.5%).

Visitor arrivals to Maui meantime, grew (+2.6% to 239,356) with increases from Japan (+11.6%), the US East (+10%) and Canada (+6.1%), while arrivals from the US West were flat (-0.2%).

Sunrise crowds at the crater overlook by Haleakala Visitor Center (9,741 feet of elevation).

In the first quarter of 2017, both visitor spending (+2.7% to $1.3 billion) and arrivals (+1.2% to 660,348) to Maui were higher than in the first quarter of 2016.

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Statewide, visitors to Hawaiʻi spent $1.4 billion in March 2017, an increase of 12.3% compared to March 2016, according to the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.  The Japan market led the growth in visitor spending (+$20.8% to $187.2 million), driven by year-over-year increases in visitor days (+13.1%), average length of stay (+3.6%), and daily spending (+6.9% to $228 per person).

Daily spending statewide averaged $201 per person in March 2017, up from $182 per person last year, with increases in most visitor markets.

Visitor arrivals to Hawaiʻi increased (+2.1% to 802,802) in March 2017, with Japan again generating the highest rate of growth (+9.1% to 136,735) among Hawaiʻi’s major markets. Spending and arrivals by visitors from Japan have escalated during the first quarter of 2017 due to increased air service to Honolulu and the launch of direct service to Kona from Haneda in December 2016.

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In addition to increased arrivals by air (+1.7% to 792,671), there was strong growth in arrivals by cruise ships (+47.4% or +3,257 visitors) in March 2017.

The island of Hawaiʻi experienced a considerable gain in visitor spending (+25.5% to $203.3 million) and double-digit growth in visitor arrivals from US West, US East, Japan and Canada. Both Kona and Hilo recorded higher visitation in March 2017, as the island benefited from more direct air service from the US and Japan.

More visitors went to multiple islands (+11.6%) in March 2017 compared to a year ago, and each island received substantially more visitors for day-trips[1]. The strong growth in cruise visitors contributed to these increases.

There was a small decline in total air seats (-0.6% to 1,051,552) serving the Hawaiian Islands in March 2017 compared to last year. Growth in scheduled seats from U.S. East (+10.8%) and Japan (+9.1%) were offset by declines from Other Asia (-11.2%), Canada (-10%), Oceania (-8.7%), and U.S. West (-1.4%).

George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, issued the following statement regarding Hawaiʻi’s visitor statistics in March 2017.

“Hawaiʻi’s tourism industry capped off a superb first quarter with exceptional results in March. Visitor spending increased by 12.3% in March, the industry’s highest monthly increase year-over-year since December 2012. Considering that Hawaiʻi tourism has experienced five consecutive record-breaking years for visitor spending, March was a truly remarkable month and a sign the Hawaiian Islands continues to be a favorite destination for global travelers.

“Through the first quarter, Hawaiʻi visitor spending is ahead of last-year’s pace by 10.4%, or more than $412 million, for a total of nearly $4.4 billion. As a result, $511.3 million has been generated in tax revenue for the State of Hawaiʻi, a healthy increase of $48.2 million over last year.

“The mainland US continues to be our strongest market and Canada has rebounded nicely, but the resurgence of Japan is the highlight of the first quarter. Japan’s visitor spending and arrivals are up by 19.1% and 7.3%, respectively, the highest rates of growth for Hawaiʻi’s major markets.

“The first quarter exceeded our expectations for Hawaiʻi’s tourism industry and we are cautiously optimistic this momentum can continue in the coming months. We thank our industry partners for all they are doing to keep the Hawaiʻi brand strong and the experience enjoyable for our visitors. Competition among global destinations to attract travelers is intense and constant. Even with the success of the first quarter results, continued collaboration among all stakeholders in support of our State’s largest industry is essential as Hawaiʻi seeks its share of the global travel market.”

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