Maui Business

Hawaiʻi Visitor Spending Increased 8.7% in May

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Visitors spent a total of $1.3 billion around Hawaiʻi in May 2017, an 8.7% increase from a year ago, due to a 4.5% visitor increase fueled by growth in arrivals by air (+3.9% to 737,254) and by cruise ships (+49.1% to 13,937), according to preliminary data released today by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.

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

The four largest visitor markets, US West, US East, Japan and Canada, all reported year-over-year increases in visitor spending and arrivals for the third straight month in May 2017.

The US West market led the growth in visitor spending (+9% to $478.7 million), boosted by growth in arrivals (+2.8% to 313,654) and higher daily spending (+5.3% to $172 per person).

The US East market recorded a strong month compared to a year ago. Total spending increased (+16.4% to $351 million), as did spending per day (+7.4% to $208 per person). Arrivals grew (+10.7% to 173,010) supported by air seat capacity increases to Honolulu and Kahului.

The Japan market continued to benefit from the introduction of direct air service to Kona and increased air service to Honolulu. Visitor spending (+9.7% to $168.8 million), visitor arrivals (+4.4% to 117,970) and daily spending (+3.8% to $246 per person) were all higher versus last year. However, the report showed that more Japan visitors stayed in timeshare (+42.3%) and condominium (+30.8%) properties in May 2017 year-over-year and fewer Japan visitors purchased group tours (-29.5%) and packaged trips (-10.3%), while more made their own travel arrangements (+45.6%).


The Canada market continued to rebound, as both visitor spending (+19.2% to $46.1 million) and arrivals (+16.6% to 25,396) increased in May 2017 year-over-year.


Visitor spending from all other international markets declined in May 2017 (-3.9% to $232.9 million) due to a drop in visitor arrivals (-5.4% to 107,224) and lower daily spending.

Year-to-date visitor spending statewide has increased through the first five months of 2017 (+9.8% to $6.9 billion) due to growth in arrivals (+4.2% to 3,769,058) and daily spending (+5.2% to $202 per person).

All four larger Hawaiian Islands saw growth in visitor spending and arrivals compared to a year ago. Kauaʻi and the island of Hawaiʻi recorded double-digit growth in visitor spending in each of the first five months of 2017.


Total air seats serving Hawaiʻi in May 2017 dropped (-0.7% to 971,957) versus last year. Growth in scheduled seats from US East (+10.6%) and Japan (+6.5%) were offset by declines from Other Asia (-17.3%), Oceania (-13.1%) and US West (-1.6%).

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

“The month of May, historically an off-peak travel period, maintained the strong pace of Hawaiʻi’s tourism industry that no one predicted at the start of the year. Visitor spending was up 8.7% statewide in May versus a year ago, as Hawaiʻi continued to benefit from robust travel demand, most notably from the mainland U.S., Japan and Canada. Tourism’s economic impact was spread across the State, with double-digit increases in visitor spending reported for Maui, Kauaʻi and the island of Hawaiʻi.

“Year-to-date, Hawaiʻi’s tourism industry has generated $806.9 million in tax revenue for the State of Hawaiʻi through May, which is $72.2 million, or 9.8%, ahead of last year’s record-setting pace. This is tax revenue that is needed to help strengthen the foundation of our State in supporting programs that benefit communities and residents, both today and in years to come.

“Hawaiʻi is fortunate to be such a popular choice among travel consumers around the world, especially with so many other destinations competing for their attention. Hawaiʻi’s aloha spirit, the warmth of our people and the beauty of our islands continues to resonate with global travelers and offers an experience unmatched by any other destination. Mahalo to all of our travel industry professionals for making the Hawaiian Islands such a wonderful place to host visitors and create fond memories to share with family and friends.”

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Make the most of your Maui vacation with these top-rated activities: Maui Top 20: Maui Visitor & Tourism Information


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