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Visitor industry performance dampening

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 03:46 p.m. HST, Nov 27, 2013

Total visitor spending and arrivals simultaneously declined in October for the second month in a row; however, the year-to-date visitor industry performance remains ahead of last year. 

Total October visitor arrivals dropped 1.6 percent to 636,245 mostly due to a decline in arrivals from the U.S. and the largely domestic cruise ship market, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The numbers are in keeping with a trend line that shows that Hawaii has experienced slower growth in visitor arrivals since July 2013, the authority said. HTA president and CEO Mike McCartney said the declines experienced in September and October are expected to continue through the remainder of this year and into 2014.

"Visitors have become more conscientious of their spending as the cost of a Hawaii vacation continues to rise," McCartney said. "This trend has caused a shortening in the average length of stay. Currency exchange rates and competitive pricing are also affecting visitor arrivals and spending and may contribute to continued declines and potentially move market share to competing destinations."

Arrivals from Hawaii's largest U.S. West market fell 8 percent and dropped 3.8 percent from U.S. East and 9.2 percent from cruise ships. The drop in domestic arrivals likely reflected a 4.8 percent decrease in scheduled air seats from the U.S. West and an 8.7 percent drop from the U.S. East. Also, one less cruise ship came to Hawaii in October 2013 than during the same month last year.

International arrivals rose 9.4 percent from Japan; 2.4 percent from Canada; and 5.3 percent from Europe and so-called emerging markets including: China, Korea, Taiwan and Latin America. The pickup in these markets corresponded with increased air seats. Schedules seats increased by 12.3 percent from Japan; 3.3 percent from Canada; 54.5 percent from Oceania; and 20.8 percent from Other Asia, which China, Taiwan and Korea.

Overall visitor spending also dropped in October to $1.09 billion, a 2.6 percent decline from October 2012. Total spending declines from the U.S., Japan and cruise ships, were partially offset by gains from Canada and the all other category, which includes Europe and emerging markets. However, visitors from all markets showed drops in average daily spending, which fell 1.5 percent to $195 per person.Even, the typically high-spending Japanese visitor's daily spending dropped by 10.5 percent to $293.

Despite the dip in arrivals and spending in October, Hawaii continued to pace ahead of 2012 for the first 10 months of the year. Year-to-date visitor spending rose 3.4 percent to nearly $12.1 billion and total visitor arrivals increased 3.9 percent to nearly 6.9 million.McCartney said tourism through October contributed $1.26 billion in tax revenue for the state, an increase of 3.4 percent compared to last year.

"As we prepare for a potential downturn in Hawaii's tourism economy, we continue to focus on driving demand from growing international markets to bolster a softening domestic market and maintain a sustainable tourism economy," he said.

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allie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 27,2013 | 02:20PM
Mypualani wrote:
OMG! I actually agree with you on all points that you made.
on November 27,2013 | 02:27PM
serious wrote:
If you came here with visions of white beaches, beautiful flowering trees and bushes and then walked down ANY street in Waikiki and saw people rummaging in garbage cans and climbing into dumpsters, I think I'd be a little wondering--is Hawaii a third world country--are their people starving??? And the absolute stupid thing about this is that we have a deposit on cans and bottles and LOSE MONEY EVERY minute of the day on this and it gives us a bad name on our revenue engine. Politicians had better get a special session that means something and get rid go this law. (D) in the back of a politician's name stand for dumb!!!!
on November 27,2013 | 04:36PM
HD36 wrote:
I'm suprised Japanese citizens haven't taken to the streets to protest Shinzo Abe's monetary expansion in steroids. From last year the Yen has lost about 30% of it's value vs the dollar. Japan just recorded its largest ever trade deficit as it costs more to import raw materials since he copied the US and devalued the currency. And like the US, wages in Japan aren't rising, but the cost of everythingelse is. China announced they will not buy anymore US bonds as its not in their country's interest. Bad news if you're not a Chinese citizen. The Renimbi will appreciate vs the dollar and the purchasing power of everyone who holds Yuan will increase. As interest rates rise, the Fed will have to increase QE to $100 billion a month as the Chinese bonds mature. If you remember operation twist, the Chinese were happy to switch from long term bonds, ie 10yr into shorter maturities as the Fed bought the long term. So now, the Chinese just have to wait till they mature instead of selling them. A friend of mine just came back from China. To his suprise, they reluctantly took US dollars, and they were hard to get rid of. A source in Panama says they have plans to delink the Balboa from the dollar. The end of its status of the world's reserve currency comes when OPEC accepts other currencies for oil. Their way of payback for not attacking Syria and stopping the Natgas Co-op led by Gazprom and originating in Iran. No wonder we have come to terms with Iran. They started an alternative dollar traiding platform that has now gained momentum and can't be stopped. Who said deficits don't matter?
on November 27,2013 | 02:36PM
samidunn wrote:
No wonder, have you been to Waikiki lately.
on November 27,2013 | 03:37PM
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