Maui Business

Maui Leads Hawai‘i’s Visitor Arrival Statistics

December 1, 2015, 12:17 PM HST
* Updated December 1, 2:38 PM
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Secret Beach image courtesy Krannichfeld Photography.

“Secret Beach” image courtesy Krannichfeld Photography.

More than 2.1 million visitors spent $3.5 billion on Maui from January through October of this year, an increase of 5.3 and 5.9% respectively.

Air seats to Kahului also jumped 16.2 percent to 1.9 million.

Maui arrivals were up 1.1 percent to 190,993 visitors while visitor days also grew 1.1 percent.

Increased arrivals from US East (+3.7%) and Canada (+1.6%) offset fewer visitors from Japan (-10.6%).

Daily spending was similar to October 2014 at $202 per person. Visitor expenditures on Maui rose 1.4 percent to $312.1 million.


Total arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands reached a new record for the month of October, with a 4.8 percent growth to 692,930 visitors in October 2015, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.


Since March 2015, total visitors counts have exceeded previous monthly records.

“For eight consecutive months, visitor arrivals to the state have exceeded the previous monthly record reaching 7.2 million visitors from January through October, an increase of 4.2 percent over the same period last year,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.

But despite the gains in visitor arrivals, spending continues to plateau as visitors adjust how long they stay and how much they spend while in the Hawaiian Islands.


“We are still pacing ahead of last year, with spending reaching $12.5 billion and contributing $1.33 billion in state tax revenue,” said Szegeti.


There were 928,866 total air seats to Hawai‘i in October 2015, which was an increase of 3.5 percent from last October. Growth in scheduled seats from Canada (+22.4%), Oceania (+18.5%), US West (+4%), US East (+2%) and Other Asia (+1.5%) offset a 2.8 percent drop in seats from Japan.

Arrivals by air rose 3.9% to 674,699 visitors in October 2015, while arrivals by cruise ships were up 52.7 percent to 18,231 visitors. Total visitor days increased 3.9 percent compared to October 2014.

Growth in arrivals by air from US West (+4.5% to 272,539) and US East (+5.3% to 130,655) more than offset a 2% drop from Canada (to 29,395). Japanese arrivals of 134,989 visitors (+0.1%) was similar to October 2014. Arrivals from all other markets rose 7.8 percent to 107,121 visitors.


Although visitor counts surpassed October 2014, lower per person per day spending led to a 2.2% decrease in total visitor expenditures to $1.2 billion. Among the top four visitor markets, visitor expenditures increased from US West (+1.1% to $406.3 million) and US East (+1.8% to $268.1 million), but declined from Japan (-8.9% to $195.2 million) and Canada (-21.5% to $58 million).


All four larger Hawaiian Islands saw growth in arrivals compared to October 2014: Kaua‘i (+7.9%), O‘ahu (+3%), Maui (+1.1%) and Hawai‘i Island (+0.6%). There were gains in visitor expenditures for Maui (+1.4% to $312.1 million), Hawai‘i Island (+8.1% to $156.4 million) and Kaua‘i (+16.1% to $125.5 million), but visitor expenditures on O‘ahu dropped 9.3 percent to $554.9 million.


Looking ahead, the HTA is monitoring issues that could impact the state’s visitor industry, including the US State Department’s worldwide travel alert and global economic conditions. HTA is also working with its international marketing partners to monitor issues in their respective regions.

The HTA will hold an update from its marketing contractors in Oceania, Korea, China, Taiwan, Europe and our newest market, Southeast Asia, on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. They will present an overview of current market conditions and their plans for 2016. To register, go online.


Through the first 10 months of 2015, total arrivals rose 4.2 percent and visitor spending increased 2.2 percent to $12.5 billion. Growth in arrivals from U.S. West (+7.2%) and U.S. East (+2.3%) compensated for slightly fewer visitors from Japan (-0.9%). Expenditures by U.S. West (+6.3% to $4.4 billion) and Canadian (+1.4% to $862.8 million) visitors increased, counter-balancing declines in U.S. East (-1.4% to $3.1 billion) and Japanese (-10% to $1.8 billion) visitor expenditures.

Maui (+5.3%), Kaua‘i (+4.9%), Hawai‘i Island (+4.2%) and O‘ahu (+2.5%) saw growth in arrivals compared to the first 10 months of 2014. Higher daily spending contributed to increased visitor expenditures on Maui (+5.9% to $3.5 billion) and Kaua‘i (+15% to $1.3 billion). Visitor expenditures on Hawai‘i Island (+0.9% to $1.6 billion) were slightly higher than last year, but O‘ahu visitor expenditures dropped 1.6 percent (to $6 billion).


· O‘ahu: Arrivals to O‘ahu rose 3 percent to 433,492 visitors in October 2015 and visitor days increased 3.8 percent. There were more visitors from U.S. East (+9.9%) and U.S. West (+1.1%) but fewer visitors from Canada (-6.4%) compared to last October. Visitor days on O‘ahu by all U.S. visitors rose 4.6 percent. A combination of typically lower spending U.S. visitors and decreased spending by Japanese visitors contributed to a 12.5 percent drop in daily spending to $199 per person. This led to a 9.3 percent loss in O‘ahu visitor expenditures to $554.9 million.

· Hawai‘i Island: While arrivals were up slightly (+0.6% to 115,759 visitors), visitor days rose 5.7 percent, boosted by a longer average length of stay. U.S. West arrivals (+9.5%) to Hawai‘i Island have increased in every month of 2015. More direct flights from U.S. West cities to Kona contributed to this growth and more visitors stayed on Hawai‘i Island exclusively (+6.3%). In contrast, Japanese arrivals have been declining since the beginning of this year. Higher daily spending (+2.2% to $181 per person) also contributed to an 8.1 percent growth in visitor expenditures to $156.4 million.

· Kaua‘i: Arrivals grew 7.9 percent to 92,099 visitors, and visitor days rose 6.4 percent. Arrivals increased from U.S. West (+8.8% to 49,299) and Canada (+11.7% to 4,738) compared to October 2014. There were considerably more Japanese visitors on Kaua‘i (+58.3% to 2,115) compared to last October; 73 percent of these Japanese visitors on Kaua‘i were day trippers. Several large Japanese tour companies have been selling more Kaua‘i packages, contributing to this increase. Combined with higher daily spending (+9.1% to $185 per person), visitor expenditures were up 16.1 percent to $125.5 million.


· For US West, arrivals from the Pacific region grew 4.5% compared to October 2014, with increases from Alaska (+15.2%), California (+3.7%), Oregon (+5.7%) and Washington (+5.4%). Arrivals from the Mountain region rose 7.6 percent, led by Utah (+27.8%), which has shown double-digit growth every month this year. For the first 10 months of 2015, arrivals from the Pacific region were up 7.3 percent while the Mountain region increased 8.7 percent.

· Most US East regions showed growth in arrivals compared to October 2014. Visitor counts from the two largest regions, South Atlantic and East North Central, rose 5.9% and 10.9%, respectively. Through October 2015, arrivals increased from most US East regions except for West North Central (+0.3%), which showed similar arrivals to year-to-date 2014.

· Significantly more US West visitors in October 2015 stayed exclusively in timeshare properties (+13.1% to 32,572) compared to last October. Among US East visitors, more stayed with friends and relatives (+17.2% to 14,512), in bed and breakfast properties (+13.8% to 2,331), and in other non-traditional accommodations (+29.1% to 2,826) than a year ago.

· For the Japanese market, there was a loss in leisure visitors (-7.2%) in October 2015, but a growth in visitors who came for meetings, conventions and incentives (+27.1%). Considerably more Japanese visitors stayed in condominiums (+55%) and timeshares (+29.9%), but hotel stays declined (-4.9%). This was the sixth consecutive month of double-digit growth in Japanese independent travelers.

· Among Canadian visitors, increased arrivals on direct flights from Canada (+24.4%) was offset by fewer arrivals on US Mainland flights (-26.7%). Timeshare use by Canadian visitors was up significantly (+33.7%) while stays in hotels (-3.5%) and condominiums (-11.4%) were lower compared to October 2014.

· A total of 47,696 visitors came for meetings, conventions and incentives in October 2015, which was a 13.2% drop from last October. Fewer visitors came for corporate meetings (-26% to 6,447) and conventions (-16.6% to 29,834) with losses mainly from US West and US East. Several events were held at the Hawai‘i Convention Center in October 2014 with more than 8,000 delegates combined. The number of visitors who traveled on incentives declined 4.6 percent. For the first 10 months of 2015, total MCI visitors increased 6.2 percent to 418,380 visitors.


Estimated arrivals by air from developing international markets rose 7.8 percent to 107,121 visitors in October 2015, and visitor days increased 10.1 percent to 997,424 days. For the first 10 months of 2015, arrivals grew 7.1 percent to 1,012,175 visitors, and visitor days were up 9.6 percent.

· Australia: Arrivals from Australia rose 10.6 percent to 31,533 visitors in October 2015. For the first 10 months of 2015, arrivals increased 10.3 percent to 283,658 visitors.

· New Zealand: There was a slight decline in visitors from New Zealand (-1.1% to 5,663) compared to October 2014. For year-to-date 2015, arrivals were up 3.8 percent to 54,158 visitors.

· China: Arrivals from China grew 7 percent to 12,981 visitors. For the first 10 months of 2015, arrivals rose 6.2 percent to 146,971 visitors.

· Korea: There were 15,308 visitors from Korea in October 2015, down 8% from the same month last year. Through October 2015, arrivals dropped 7.5% to 136,208 visitors.

· Taiwan: Arrivals from Taiwan declined 13.1 percent to 1,179 visitors. For the first 10 months of 2015, arrivals decreased 20.3% to 14,229 visitors.

· Europe: There were 13,135 visitors from Europe (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland) in October 2015, down 9.4 percent from a year ago. For the first 10 months of 2015, arrivals dropped slightly (-0.9%) to 121,790 visitors.

· Latin America: Arrivals from the Latin America market (Mexico, Brazil and Argentina) decreased 32.9% to 1,924 visitors. For the first 10 months of 2015, arrivals from this market fell 6.9% to 22,828 visitors.


· Total air seats to the Hawaiian Islands rose 3.5% to 928,866. Growth in seat capacity to Kahului (+10.7%), Kona (+12.6%) and Hilo (+6%) airports offset fewer seats to Līhu‘e (-3.5%). There were more scheduled (+3.5% to 922,927) and chartered (+1.5% to 5,939) air seats compared to October 2014.

· Scheduled seats from US West were up 4 percent. Increased capacity from Anchorage (+29.4%), Denver (+12.1%), Oakland (+4.6%), Portland (+5.3%), San Diego (+11.1%), San Francisco (+17.7%) and Seattle (+12.5%) compensated for discontinued service from Bellingham and decreased service from Los Angeles.

· Scheduled seats from US East grew 2% compared to October 2014. New service out of Minneapolis and increased service from New York JFK (+22.7%), offset fewer seats from Chicago (-12.1%).

· More seats from Vancouver to Honolulu (+18%), Kahului (+33.7%) and Līhu‘e (+20.7%) contributed to a 22.4 percent growth in scheduled seats out of Canada.

· Scheduled seats from Oceania grew 18.5 percent. Seats from Brisbane doubled, in addition to increased service from Sydney (+5.2%) and Melbourne (+29%).

· Scheduled seats from Other Asia rose 1.5%. Total seats from China were similar to last October with more seats out of Shanghai (+5%) balanced by fewer seats from Beijing (-3.6%). Seats out of Taipei dropped 13.4 percent. For the Korea market, the number of seats from Seoul increased 3.9%.

· In the first 10 months of 2015, total air capacity rose 6.2 percent to 9,918,156 seats. Growth in seats to Honolulu (+2.9%), Kahului (+16.2%), Kona (+18.5%) and Līhu‘e (+3.9%) offset fewer seats to Hilo (-4.8%).


· Eight out-of-state cruise ships came in October 2015 and brought 18,231 visitors to the islands. Several of these ships also had larger capacities compared to the six ships that came in October 2014 with 11,938 visitors. Cruise arrivals for October 2015 were significantly higher than October 2014. However, changes in scheduling shifted some capacity forward (earlier) from later months.

· Arrivals by air to embark on cruise ships increased 27.8 percent. Five Saturdays in October 2015 allowed for five tours of the Hawai‘i home-ported cruise ship compared to four tours in October 2014.

· Through the first 10 months of 2015, 104,862 visitors entered Hawai‘i on 57 out-of-state cruise ships. This was 1.7% higher than the 103,080 visitors who came on 58 cruise ships through year-to-date 2014. There were 211,742 total cruise visitors (by air and by ship) in the first 10 months of 2015, up 4.9 percent from the same period last year.

Current monthly visitor statistics and other tables referenced can be viewed online.

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