Maui Business

Visitor Spending Breaks Records in January 2018

February 28, 2018, 10:08 AM HST
* Updated February 28, 10:12 AM
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Santa Arrival at Wailea Beach. Image: Malika Dudley

Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands spent a total of $1.69 billion in January 2018, the highest statewide total for visitor spending ever recorded for a single month in Hawaiʻi’s history, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.

On Maui, visitor spending rose significantly in January, up 18% to $548.5 million, the highest monthly total ever recorded. The record-breaking numbers were boosted by growth a 5% increase in visitor days and higher average daily spending (+12% to $253 per person).

Arrivals on Maui increased 5.6% to 230,581 with more visitors from US West (+14.3%), Canada (+7.8%) and US East (+5%) but fewer visitors from Japan (-2.3%). The average number of visitors on any given day on Maui in January increased 5.3% to 69,808 visitors.

Visitor spending also increased on the island of Hawaiʻi (+1.8% to $268.2 million) and Kauaʻi (+2.3% to $191.2 million) in January, which too were the highest monthly totals ever recorded for each island. Visitor spending on Oʻahu declined slightly (-1.9% to $662.0 million) in January compared to last year.

Total arrivals to the state grew 5.4% to 796,483 visitors in January, with total visitor days increasing 4% versus a year ago. Growth in arrivals by air service (+6.2% to 784,237) offset fewer arrivals by cruise ships (-29.7% to 12,246). The average number of visitors on any given day in January was 259,481, up 4% compared to January of last year.


Spending by visitors from the US West market increased 8.3% to $589.4 million in January. Total visitor arrivals rose sharply (+14% to 304,091), supported by expanded air service to the neighbor islands. However, the average daily spending by each visitor (-3.7% to $190 per person) was lower compared to a year ago.


The US East market reported a gain in visitor spending (+4% to $450.6 million) in January, boosted by increases in visitor arrivals (+3.1% to 177,962) and average daily spending (+4.1% to $215 per person).

The Japan market saw a decline in visitor spending (-4.2% to $191.9 million) in January. Visitor arrivals (-3.7% to 118,767) and average daily spending decreased (-1.7% to $268 per person) versus last year.

There was growth in visitor spending from the Canada market (+6.3% to $171.1 million) in January. Visitor arrivals (+6.5% to 69,163) and average daily spending (+1% to $176 per person) increased from a year ago.


The report shows that a total of 1,123,132 trans-Pacific air seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands in January, an increase of nearly 10% from a year ago. Growth in air seats from Other Asia (+17.1%), US West (+13.6%), US East (+9.5%), Oceania (+5.4%) and Canada (+2.9%) offset a slight decline in seats from Japan (-1.3%).

Other Highlights:

US West: Arrivals from the Mountain (+15.3%) and Pacific (+13.3%) regions increased sharply in January versus a year ago, with more visitors from Utah (+21.2%), California (+14.2%), Colorado (+14.1%), Oregon (+12.5%), Washington (+10.2%) and Arizona (+8.5%).

US East: Growth in visitor arrivals from the West South Central (+7.5%), East North Central (+7%), West North Central (+4.7%), East South Central (+4.5%) and South Atlantic (+3.5%) regions offset fewer visitors from the New England (-4.5%) and Mid Atlantic (-4.3%) regions.

Japan: Stays in timeshare properties increased (+8.2%) in January compared to a year ago. More visitors made their own travel arrangements (+22.9%), while fewer visitors purchased package trips (-18.6%) and group tours (-8.7%).

Canada: More visitors stayed in hotels (+10.5%) compared to January 2017. Stays in rental homes (+14.7%) also increased from last year.

George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, issued the following statement regarding Hawaii’s visitor statistics results for January 2018.

“We are fortunate that Hawaiʻi’s tourism industry began 2018 with outstanding results in January, highlighted by a record monthly total of $1.69 billion in visitor spending statewide. It’s notable that Maui, Kauaʻi and the island of Hawaiʻi all achieved new record monthly totals as well in visitor spending.

“A significant factor for Hawaiʻi’s success in January is that air seat capacity increased by 9.7%, which reflects the new flights that have been added recently, especially to the neighbor islands. Heightened travel demand leads to increased air access, and carriers are showing their confidence in Hawaiʻi’s ability to attract travel consumers from the US mainland and around the world.

“A benefit of tourism’s success in January is that $197 million in state tax revenue was generated, which is also a record monthly total. This is tax revenue that is strengthening our State at the government level, while the increased visitor spending is helping to support businesses and jobs for residents in communities throughout the state.

“HTA’s marketing team is working hard in our 10 target markets worldwide to drive travel demand for the Hawaiian Islands and help stave off the intense competition coming from other global destinations. We appreciate the continued support of our travel industry partners, as keeping Hawaii tourism strong for the future is a collective team effort.”

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