Visitor Arrivals to Maui Up 1.5% in January 2017

February 28, 2017, 3:40 PM HST · Updated February 28, 4:14 PM
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Tourmaui.com at Black Sand Beach in East Maui. Courtesy photo Hawaiʻi Ecotourism Association.

Visitor arrivals on Maui increased (+1.5%) in January 2017 year-over-year, but a shorter length of stay resulted in no growth in visitor days (+0.3%).

Visitors to Maui spent less on a daily basis (-3.7% to $226 per person), resulting in a decline in visitor spending for the month (-3.4% to $462.3 million). Increased arrivals from US East (+4%) and US West (+1.8%) offset declines from Canada (-5.6%) and Japan (-2.9%).

Although visitors to Maui stayed for a shorter period than in the past (-1.2% from year before levels), the average length of stay was 9.39 days, longer than stays on any other island in the state.

Per person per day spending was also second highest in the state, despite a 3.7% decline from the same time last year.  Across the state, the average visitor spent $226 per person per day on Maui; $455 on Lānaʻi; $210 on Kauaʻi; $204 on Oʻahu; $195 on Hawaiʻi Island; and $153 on Molokaʻi.

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Maui fared even better when assessing per person per trip spending, which was $2122 on Maui, well ahead of any other island in the state, with Kauaʻi coming in second at $1878.

Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands in January 2017 spent a total of $1.6 billion, which was an increase of 10.1% compared to January 2016, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.

Total visitor arrivals to Hawaiʻi rose 4.9% to 756,313 visitors in January 2017, with total visitor days also increasing by 3.9% year-over-year versus January 2016.

Visitor spending increased from US West (+19.8% to $544 million), US East (+6.7% to $433.1 million) and Japan (+26.5% to $200.4 million); while spending by visitors from All Other International Markets (-4.3% to $265.7 million) and Canada (-0.6% to $158.4 million) decreased compared to January 2016.

Statewide average daily spending was higher (+6% to $208 per person) in January 2017 than January 2016. Visitors spent more per day from US West (+15.2% to $198 per person), Japan (+14.6% to $273 per person), Canada (+2.8% to $172 per person) and US East (+2.6% to $207 per person), while visitors from All Other International Markets spent less (-7.3% to $232 per person).

A total of 738,883 visitors (+4.1%) arrived in Hawaiʻi by air in January 2017, while 17,430 visitors (+58.3%) came aboard cruise ships. Arrivals by air increased from US West (+4.5% to 266,780), US East (+6.3% to 172,680), Japan (+6.9% to 123,390) and Canada (+2% to 65,048), while arrivals decreased from All Other International Markets (-1.9% to 110,986).

All of the Hawaiian Islands saw growth in visitor arrivals compared to January 2016. Visitor spending increased on Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, and the island of Hawaiʻi, but decreased on Maui.

The total number of air seats serving Hawaii (+0.2% to 1,024,115) in January 2017 was similar to January 2016. Growth in scheduled seats from U.S. East (+13.4%), Other Asia (+8.7%) and Japan (+8.2%) was partially offset by fewer seats from Oceania (-9.7%), U.S. West (-3.3%) and Canada (-2.7%).

George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority commented saying, “January’s visitor statistics show Hawaiʻi’s tourism industry is off to a good start this year, especially with visitor spending increasing by 10.1 percent over last January, carried by the strong results from the mainland U.S. The 26.5 percent increase in spending by visitors from Japan was particularly gratifying and helped offset the overall drop in visitor spending from Hawaii’s other international markets.

“January was the first full month we saw the positive impact of Hawaiian Airlines’ new nonstop service between Haneda and Kona. As we had hoped, this new route provided a tremendous boost to the island of Hawaiʻi in January, with visitor arrivals from Japan increasing by 30.6%. Kauaʻi also realized a 26.6% growth in visitor arrivals from Japan due to increased air service to Honolulu.

“Even with the strong start in January, we are cautiously optimistic about Hawaiʻi tourism maintaining this continued success in 2017. We appreciate the support of tourism’s stakeholders and industry partners as we collectively work to drive travel demand for the Hawaiian Islands in the coming months,” said Szigeti.

Other Highlights:

  • US West: Arrivals from the Mountain (+7.5%) and Pacific (+2.2%) regions increased compared to January 2016, with more visitors from Utah (+13.1%), Colorado (+11.4%), Oregon (+11.4%), Arizona (+7.9%), Washington (+2.8%) and California (+1.6%).
  • US East: Growth in visitor arrivals from the Mid Atlantic (+12.6%), New England (+10.1%), South Atlantic (+5.9%), West North Central (+3.6%) and East North Central (+1.5%) regions offset fewer visitors from the East South Central region (-2.3%).
  • MCI: The number of visitors who came for meetings, conventions and incentives (MCI) increased (+4.4% to 60,572) in January 2017, driven by strong growth in convention visitors (+17.4% to 40,609). Contributing to this increase was the Society of Critical Care Medicine 46th Congress, which was held at the Hawaii Convention Center and attracted 5,200 out-of-state delegates.
  • Accommodations: There was moderate growth in hotel usage by visitors from U.S. West (+2.9%) and U.S. East (+6.2%), while stays in rental homes (U.S. West +21.1%, U.S. East +19.7%) rose substantially compared to January 2016. For visitors from Japan, growth in hotel stays (+2.7%) was also modest, while considerably more visitors stayed in condominiums (+39.1%) and timeshare properties (+19.6%) compared to a year ago.
Highlights from All Other Markets:
In January 2017, spending by visitors from All Other International Markets decreased (-4.3% to $265.7 million), as a result of fewer arrivals (-1.9% to 110,986 visitors) and lower average daily spending (-7.3% to $232 per person).
  • Oceania: Visitor arrivals dropped slightly (-0.7%) in January 2017. Growth in arrivals from New Zealand (+10.5% to 3,946) was offset by fewer visitors from Australia (-2.1% to 27,821).
  • Other Asia: Visitor arrivals were up 4.6 percent in January 2017 compared to January 2016, with strong increases from China (+9.7% to 14,715) and Taiwan (+32.6% to 2,000). A higher number of available air seats and the Lunar New Year Holiday taking place in January 2017 contributed to the growth in visitors from these markets. Visitor arrivals from Korea (+0.5% to 24,340) were similar to last year.
  • Europe: Combined visitor arrivals from Europe (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland) decreased (-1.8% to 7,833) in January 2017 compared to year ago.
  • Latin America: Visitor arrivals from Mexico, Brazil and Argentina declined in January 2017
    (-4.5% to 2,692).
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