Total expenditures by visitors who came to Hawaii in April decreased 2.2 percent, or $24 million, from last April to $1.1 billion, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday by the Hawai'i Tourism Authority.
For the first four months of 2014, total visitor expenditures fell 2.9 percent to $4.9 billion and total arrivals dropped 2.6 percent to 2,720,760 visitors. There has been negative growth in total visitor expenditures for the last eight months.
"Declines in arrivals have been affected by a decrease in Hawaii's cruise business
(-18.9 percent), as the HTA continues to work with the state Department of Transportation and Department of Land and Natural Resources to improve access at Hawaii's harbors," said HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney. "We recently issued a request for proposals for maritime vessel scheduling software, which will help to establish an integrated system that will ease vessel scheduling to optimize the use of dock space to accommodate more cruise ships throughout the Hawaiian Islands."
In April 2014, arrivals by air of 639,395 visitors (+0.3 percent) was comparable to the same month last year. However, fewer visitors came by cruise ships (-22.2 percent) which led to a slight drop in total arrivals (-0.7 percent) to 662,553 visitors. The average daily spending by all visitors (-1.6 percent to $188 per person) was lower than a year ago.
"Other factors affecting visitor arrivals include growing competition, the strengthening of the U.S. dollar against international currencies and other economic conditions," said McCartney.
Arrivals by air from U.S. West visitors fell 1.4 percent to 274,656 visitors, despite an expected gain from Easter holiday travelers. This decline was offset by higher daily spending (+4.5 percent to $160 per person), which contributed to a 2.9 percent growth in U.S. West visitor expenditures to $394.1 million.
Average daily spending by U.S. East visitors was less than last April (-8 percent to $193 per person), resulting in a 6.9 percent decline in U.S. East visitor expenditures to $238.4 million.
A drop in Japanese arrivals (-1.6 percent to 98,686 visitors) was balanced by increased daily spending (+3.4 percent to $271 per person), resulting in total expenditures of $154.6 million (+0.2 percent).
Canadian visitors spent a total of $89.7 million in April 2014, up 10.2 percent from the same month last year. Supported by increased air service, Canadian arrivals rose 16.3 percent to 49,548 visitors.
Arrivals from All Other markets totaled 87,608 visitors (-0.2 percent). Lower daily spending (-5.6 percent to $258 per person) and a shorter average length of stay led to a 10.7 percent drop in expenditures from All Other markets to $195.4 million.
There were more visitors to Kauai (+4.2 percent) and Maui (+2.7 percent), but fewer visitors to the Big Island (-3.8 percent) compared to April 2013.
Visitor expenditures rose on Kauai (+8.5 percent) and the Big Island (+1.4 percent) but decreased on Oahu (-6.1 percent).
There were 898,448 total air seats (+0.7 percent) to Hawaii in April 2014. Scheduled seats from Other Asia (+19.3 percent), Canada (+16.8 percent) and Japan (+6.5 percent) grew, but scheduled seats from U.S. East (-8.4 percent) and Oceania (-6.3 percent) declined.
"The HTA continues focusing on diversifying our international markets by increasing destination awareness and interest in markets like Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea, Taiwan and Latin America," said McCartney. "The HTA recently contracted a general sales agent for Latin America and is planning to issue RFPs for representation in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Developing these newer markets creates opportunities for attracting first-time, higher spending visitors to Hawaii."