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Hawaii's tourism industry sees more visitors but less spending

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 12:57 p.m. HST, Aug 29, 2013

Visitor spending was flat and arrivals grew only 4.6 percent in July, which is typically one of the best months for Hawaii's tourism industry. 

As many as 757,969 visitors came to Hawaii in July; however, they spent .7 percent less than they did in July 2012 and visitors from every market but Canada cut their trips shorter, according to monthly visitor data released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. 

Total spending fell a skosh to $1.3 billion in July partly because U.S. West visitors, the state's core market, only spent an average of $145.5 a day which equated to 2.7 percent less per person than in July of 2012. Visitors from this market also cut their trips by .6 percent and spent 3.3 percent less per trip than they did the prior year. 

The U.S. East, Hawaii's second largest visitor source market, also saw daily spending decline 4.5 percent to $190.9 a visitor. These visitors cut their length of stay by .8 percent and spent 5.2 percent less per trip then they did in July 2012. 

Likewise, a 2.9 percent drop in arrivals from Japan, the state’s largest international market, hurt overall spending. It didn't help Hawaii's performance that those who came from Japan only spent $250 a day on average, which was 16.5 percent than they did a year ago. While Japanese visitors' stays fell just .2 percent from the prior year, these visitors spent 16.7 percent less per trip and 19.1 percent less overall.  

Stronger growth from Canada and emerging markets like China, Korea, Taiwan, helped balance the market. However, on a per-trip basis, July spending fell from every market but Canada. 

Even with July's contraction, arrivals rose 5.5 percent to nearly 4.66 million for the first seven months of the year. Spending during that period also rose .7 percent to $8.7 billion. 

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