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Visitor industry performance continues dampening

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 11:48 a.m. HST, Feb 27, 2014

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.

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Maneki_Neko wrote:

"Declining" or "decreasing" would have been better, more accurate words. Maybe our legislators will dampen their spending proposals?

on February 27,2014 | 11:26AM
paintslinger wrote:
What the hell do you expect? Your tourism and other stupid development plans have literally turned this Island into a flaming dump...as congested, loud, over stuffed city with prices that reflect not our economy, but our greed. You can expect more decline in spending.....as we taste what our own hands have crafted.
on February 27,2014 | 11:26AM
hawaiiwalter wrote:
You can't blame the tourists for not coming. We don't even want to go to Waikiki anymore ourselves. Nothing but homeless all over the streets, drunks everywhere and everything is overpriced. Waikiki has lost its glamour. Why would anyone want to come to Hawaii when they can go to so many other places for a lot less money. And it takes a lot less time to get there. All the recent hate news against marriage equality by the Mormon Church and the Catholic church sure didn't help either. Don't you think the world sees what goes on here?
on February 27,2014 | 12:18PM
Rapanui00 wrote:
It will continue to decline - Waikiki is a dump with homeless everywhere. Just driving down Kalakaua yesterday I was appalled at the amount of people lying on the sidewalk etc. It's out of control but we have the money to build a train to nowhere and expensive kennels for wealthy Asians in Kakaako. Between the "machine" and our politicians their is no hope. Its getting worse by the day!
on February 27,2014 | 12:28PM
inlanikai wrote:
As long as they keep getting re-elected the politicians won't do anything of substance about it.
on February 27,2014 | 12:59PM
Tenatwelve wrote:
There are to many non-profits that get state and city money to "care for the homeless". Stop giving money to these organizations. They make it "easy to be homeless in Hawaii". "Easy to be homeless in Hawaii " words I heard straight from a homeless person from the mainland. No BS.
on February 27,2014 | 01:11PM
saveparadise wrote:
I don't mind the tourists. It's the speculators and the bought politicians that drive up the cost of living that are killing us. They could care less for the aina or the people. All they want is money and possessions. They have the money and positions of power to control our destiny. Paradise lost forever.
on February 27,2014 | 01:21PM
HD36 wrote:
The speculators are getting money to speculate at ultra low interest rates.
on February 27,2014 | 04:44PM
false wrote:
What happened to all the Chinese tourists that were expected here when visa requirements were eased? Just HTA wishful thinking?
on February 27,2014 | 01:25PM
MillionMonkeys wrote:
We in the hospitality (hotel) industry have known for a long time that the HTA's selling of the "Chinese tourist influx" was an empty promise, used to make people think the HTA was working on something useful. There just aren't a lot of Chinese with ample spending money. Most of our visitors came with the cheapest tour groups who negotiated the lowest room rates possible and fed them breakfast at a fast food joint. The hotels let them stay just for the cash flow, close to zero profit. More BS than wishful thinking.
on February 27,2014 | 03:11PM
whs1966 wrote:
Listen to the hotels as they increase the "deals" for kama`aina.
on February 27,2014 | 02:18PM
whs1966 wrote:
"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. Oh, yeah, the HTA is glad to take credit when all is going well, but not now.
on February 27,2014 | 02:20PM
808comp wrote:
Our number one industry is dying out. With all the new developements going on the visitors can see that at home.The old Hawaii is going and soon will be gone,or maybe its already gone.It seems that the friendly atmosphere we use to have is disappearing. Glad i grew up in old Hawaii.
on February 27,2014 | 02:39PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Look at the picture! Only impaired people would pay for air travel and huge hotel bills to get on that beach.
on February 27,2014 | 07:28PM
scuddrunner wrote:
Hawaii is expensive! Go to Mexico, less expensive.
on February 28,2014 | 03:27AM
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