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Hawai‘i Visitor Spending Increased 8.7% in First Half of 2017

July 27, 2017, 11:17 AM HST · Updated July 27, 11:18 AM
Nikki Schenfeld · 15 Comments
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Visitors in the first half of 2017 spent a total of $8.4 billion in the Hawaiian Islands, an increase of 8.7% compared to the first half of 2016, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.

Tourism. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Total visitor arrivals rose 4.3% to 4,604,976 compared to a year ago, boosted by a 4% increase in arrivals by air and nearly 24% increase in arrivals by cruise ships.

Hawai‘i’s four largest visitor markets, US West, US East, Japan, and Canada, all reported double-digit gains in visitor spending. Visitor arrivals from the four markets also increased from last year. In addition, daily spending by these visitors was higher than the first half of 2016.

Visitor spending on Maui increased 4.8% to $2.4 billion in the first half of 2017 and arrivals increased 3.4% to 1,360,600, exceeding the results from the same period last year.

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The island of Hawai‘i was the only island to report double-digit growth in both visitor spending and arrivals, supported by increased direct air service from the US and Japan.

George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, issued the following statement commenting on Hawai‘i’s visitor statistics results for the first six months of 2017.

“Our State’s economy benefited from the consistently strong travel demand that Hawai‘i realized in the first half of the year, especially from the mainland US, Japan and Canada. Visitor spending statewide grew by 8.7% through the first six months, which strengthened Hawai‘i’s economy as a whole and also generated $976 million in State tax revenue, an increase of $78.3 million.

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“These statewide results and Hawai‘i’s ability to successfully compete with other global destinations is shared by all of our tourism stakeholders and industry professionals who make being in the Hawaiian Islands such a wonderfully enjoyable experience for visitors from around the world.

“As global competition expands and diversifies giving travelers more options, the sharing of the Hawaiian culture, the warmth of our aloha spirit lifestyle and goodwill of our residents distinguishes Hawai‘i as a place to come enjoy and experience, in many cases, again and again. Mahalo to everyone who contributes to tourism’s vitality and the benefits it brings to communities and families statewide.”

For June 2017, visitor spending increased to $1.4 billion versus a year ago. Visitor spending increased from US East (+10.9% to $427 million), Japan (+9.3% to $183.5 million) and Canada (+18.4% to $37.2 million), but declined from US West (-1.7% to $557.1 million).

Total arrivals increased 4.5% in June 2017 with more visitors coming from US East, US West, Japan, and Canada, but fewer visitors from All Other International markets compared to a year ago.

In June 2017, visitor spending on Maui increased 1.5% to $393.7 million, boosted by growth in visitor days. Daily spending was down 2.6% on Maui with $200 per person versus last year. However, visitor arrivals increased 5.5% to 251,645 with the growth from US East, Canada, and US West offsetting fewer visitors from Japan.

The report showed that daily spending of $193 was similar to last year. Visitors from Canada, US East, and Japan spent more, while visitors from US West and All Other International markets spent less compared to June 2016.

All four larger Hawaiian Islands recorded year-over-year growth in visitor spending and visitor arrivals in June 2017.

Nikki Schenfeld
Nikki joined the Maui Now team in 2016 as a writer/reporter. Originally from Chicago, she has had internships with CBS2 Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Chicago where she had the opportunity to interview some of Chicago's best athletes. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2010 with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism. She moved to Maui in 2013.

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