Visitor arrivals in January were flat against the same month last year and visitor spending, which had been declining for the previous four months, dropped by 4.7 percent during the same period, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday morning by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).
Some 682,634 visitors came to the Hawaiian Islands in January and spent $1.37 billion on a non-seasonally adjusted basis while they were here. That meant each visitor that came to the Hawaiian Islands in January, spent $10 less per day than the $201 in visitor daily spending that they averaged last January.
HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney said that fluctuating currency exchange rates, growing competition and the increasing cost of a Hawaiian vacation were all factors contributing to the losses in January visitor spending.
"Hawaii’s tourism economy is starting to plateau following two years of record-breaking growth," McCartney said . "We anticipate seeing this trend continue into the first and second quarters of 2014."
Following the trend of previous months, January growth in international visitors only partially offset losses in U.S. arrivals. There were 946,549 total air seats to Hawaii in January 2014, up 3.4 percent from last January. However, most of the air seat growth came from international markets.
As a result, January tourists from Hawaii’s core U.S. West market dropped 4.6 percent to 231,871 and spending fell 6.1 percent to $393.8 million. Likewise, U.S. East arrivals dropped by 4.1 percent to 146,190 visitors and spending declined byl 3.1 percent to $381.8 million.
While arrivals from Japan rose 7 percent to 126,330 visitors in January 2014, spending declined 7.3 percent to $212 million. Similarly, arrivals from Canada grew 4.2 percent to 70,167 visitors; however, spending dropped 8.7 percent to $153.6 million in January 2014.
Arrivals from all other markets, a category that includes Asian nations outside of Japan, Europe, Oceania and Latin America, were up 9 percent to 90,396 visitors. However, spending from these markets was flat at $219 million.