Total expenditures by visitors who came to Hawaii in January 2014 dropped 4.7 percent from January 2013, to $1.37 billion, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawai'i Tourism Authority.
This was the fifth consecutive month of a decline in visitor expenditures compared to the previous year.
"Hawai'i's tourism economy is starting to plateau following two years of record-breaking growth," said HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney. "While visitor arrivals in January are on pace with last year's numbers, which contributed to a record of 8.2 million annual visitors, expenditures were down 4.7 percent compared to the same period last year. Each visitor that came to the Hawaiian Islands in January, spent $10 less per day than the average $201 in visitor daily spending from last January."
McCartney attributes the decline in spending to the fluctuating currency exchange rates, growing competition and the increasing cost of a Hawaiian vacation. He anticipates seeing this trend continue into the first and second quarters of the year.
"This year will be challenging for our tourism economy with increased global competition and the volatility of the world economy," said McCartney. "The HTA and our marketing partners continue to monitor global economic conditions and travel trends to adjust marketing strategies and implement programs that will keep the Hawaiians Islands top-of-mind as a visitor destination. We cannot rest on our past success and must continue to work hard to sustain the recent growth we have experienced and maintain a strong tourism economy."
Total arrivals for January 2014 was 682,634 visitors, virtually unchanged from a year ago. However, the average daily visitor spending was lower compared to January 2013 (-5.2% to $191 per person).
Among visitors who came by air this January, growth in international visitors compensated for losses in U.S. arrivals. U.S. West visitor expenditures fell 6.1 percent to $393.8 million in January 2014, as a result of fewer arrivals (-4.6% to 231,871 visitors) and lower daily visitor spending (-2.5% to $154 per person). U.S. West visitor expenditures and arrivals have been declining since August 2013.
Decreases in U.S. East arrivals (-4.1% to 146,190 visitors) and daily spending (-0.9% to $204 per person) led to a 3.1 percent drop in U.S. East visitor expenditures to $381.8 million. This was the fourth straight month of year-over-year losses in U.S. East visitor expenditures and arrivals.
Arrivals from Japan rose 7 percent to 126,330 visitors in January 2014. However, much lower daily spending (-11.9% to $295 per person) resulted in a 7.3 percent decline in Japanese visitor expenditures to $212 million.
Despite growth in Canadian arrivals (+4.2% to 70,167 visitors), lower daily spending (-14.9% to $147 per person) caused an 8.7 percent drop in Canadian visitor expenditures to $153.6 million in January 2014.
Arrivals from All Other markets were up 9 percent to 90,396 visitors, with significantly more visitors from Other Asia (+29.3%) and Oceania (+20%) (see page 3). Combined expenditures from All Other visitors of $219 million was about the same as January 2013.
Arrivals by cruise ships decreased 3.1 percent to 17,680 visitors in January 2014 (see page 6).
Among the islands, visitor expenditures declined on Oahu (-12.4% to $587.4 million) and Maui (-6.3% to $366.8 million) but increased on the Big Island (+8.1% to $234.9 million) and Kauai (+17.2% to $160 million) compared to January 2013.
There were 946,549 total air seats to Hawaii in January 2014, up 3.4 percent from last January. Scheduled seats from Other Asia (+21.5%) and Oceania (+20.1%) rose significantly and scheduled seats from Japan (+10.2%) and Canada (+9.1%) also increased. Growth in scheduled seats from U.S. West (-0.7%) and U.S. East (+0.6%) was flat compared to January 2013.