Monthly Hawaiʻi Visitor Rate Reaches Record High

September 4, 2018, 8:49 AM HST · Updated September 5, 7:01 AM
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File photo by Wendy Osher.

Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority President George D. Szigeti announced that the tourism industry reached a new record for monthly visitors in July. The total amount of visitors for the month was 939,360. HTA statistics show that total monthly visitors traveling to Maui grew significantly.

Compared to all of the other larger islands (Hawaiʻi, Oʻahu, and Kauaʻi), Maui saw the highest increase in visitor arrivals for the month. According to HTA statistics, Maui saw a 12 percent rise in visitor arrivals and an 11 percent rise in visitor spending.

“Hawaiʻi’s four island counties all continued to produce positive results in visitor spending and arrivals through the first seven months of 2018,” Szigeti said. “The island of Hawaiʻi, however, reported declines in both visitor spending and arrivals for the second straight month, due to the dampening effect that the Kīlauea volcano eruption has had on travel bookings to that island.”

HTA statistics show that Oʻahu recorded a 2 percent increase in visitor arrivals and a 1.2 percent increase in visitor spending in July compared to last year. Kauaʻi saw greater growth in both areas, with a 7.3 percent rise in visitor arrivals and a 17.6 percent rise in spending. HTA said that visitors traveling to Hawaiʻi island decreased by 12.7 percent  and visitor spending for the island decreased by 7.2 percent.

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“We are confident HTA’s release of more than $2-million in emergency funding to support targeted marketing programs by Hawaiʻi Tourism United States and Hawaiʻi Tourism Japan promoting travel to the island of Hawaiʻi will help reverse this downward trend,” Szigeti said. “We anticipate seeing the pace of bookings for the island of Hawaiʻi to again rise and become more in line with what is being reported by Oʻahu, Maui County and Kauaʻi.”

Szigeti also noted that July saw the highest total monthly airline passengers traveling to Hawaiʻi. Szigeti said that these totals speak to the strong travel demand that Hawaiʻi’s brand continues to command and the confidence that airlines have in serving the Hawaiian Islands. “Year-to-date, Hawaiʻi has reached nearly $11-billion in visitor spending and attracted almost six million visitors after just seven months, both of which are well ahead of last year’s record-setting pace,” Szigeti said.

According to Szigeti, the tourism industryʻs benefits are reflected in the success of local businesses and the jobs it created for residents. “Government continues to benefit as well from tourism’s success, as $1.28 billion in state tax revenue has been generated, which is nearly 10 percent and $114 million more than last year at this time,” Szigeti said.

HTA said that from the beginning of the year to July, visitor arrivals statewide were up 7.7 percent compared to last year. In that same period, statewide visitor spending reached $10.92 billion, a 9.8 percent increase from last year. HTA data also shows that statewide average daily spending by visitors rose to $205 per person through the first seven months of 2018.

“Mahalo to all of Hawaiʻi’s tourism professionals statewide, especially those working on the front line, for your invaluable contribution to the continuing success of the Hawaiian Islands and the joy that visitors experience when coming here to vacation,” Szigeti said.  

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