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Tourism slows as visitor arrivals and spending down

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 01:52 p.m. HST, Apr 28, 2014

Declines in March visitor arrivals and spending contributed to first quarter tourism slowdown. 

Total expenditures by visitors who came to Hawaii in March fell 3.5 percent year-over-year to $1.2 billion and total arrivals declined 5.2 percent year-over-year to 728,814 visitors, according to preliminary statistics released on Monday by the Hawai'i Tourism Authority. The monthly softening caused first quarter visitor spending to drop 3.1 percent year-over-year to $3.8 billion and total arrivals to fall 3.2 percent year-over-year to 2,058,207 visitors.

"Following two record-breaking years in visitor spending and arrivals, we anticipated a slowdown in growth this year," said Mike McCartney, HTA president and CEO. "While the outlook for the summer remains strong, we expect the fall shoulder period to be challenging, with increased competition, a strengthening U.S. dollar and increased taxes."

Continued losses from Hawaii's core U.S. West market, which has been posting year-over-year losses since August, were a major factor in the new reductions. March arrivals by air from U.S. West visitors dipped 9.2 percent to 268,236 visitors partially due to the Easter/spring break holiday occurring in April this year as opposed to March last year. At the same time, U.S. West visitor spending plummeted 14 percent to $378.9 million in March 2014. 

The U.S. West slump was so steep in March that it couldn't be offset by a 7.5 percent rise in U.S. East visitor spending, which rose to $317.4 million, or a .2 percent gain in visitors, which increased to 165,745. Likewise, arrivals from Japan, Hawaii's top international market, only rose 2 percent to 130,565 in March, and spending stayed flat at $204.4 million. And, while March arrivals from Canada were flat at 74,054 visitors, spending from the market dropped 5.9 percent to $136.2 million. 

The small but lucrative all other markets, which includes Asian countries outside of Japan, Latin America, Oceania and Europe, saw March arrivals decrease 4.5 percent to 79,622 visitors. However, higher daily spending contributed to a 4.6 percent rise in expenditures to $190.9 million. Arrivals by cruise ships fell 52.7 percent to 10,592 visitors in March 2014.

Air seats rose 1.5 percent from March 2013 to 982,885 during March 2014. 

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Oahuan wrote:
Honolulu is falling apart. Streets, Public facilities, Hotels.....Third World status.
on April 28,2014 | 11:43AM
1local wrote:
raises for all government workers.
on April 28,2014 | 02:42PM
medigogo wrote:
Ugly homelessness, expensive hotel and airfare, less aloha, Waikiki beach deteriorating, so and so.
on April 28,2014 | 03:06PM
Skyler wrote:
Fake aloha, trinkets made in China & PI, etc. instead of Hawaii, demise of eclectic shopping venues (such as the International Market Place) & upscale stores being built in their stead... the list is growing.
on April 28,2014 | 03:25PM
handsomeguy wrote:
We scared away all the gay tourists thanks to the hate coming from the Catholic church. Older tourists and those with children don't want to see the homeless, drunks and prostitutes who are all over Waikiki. The "middle" folks prefer to go where they can have some action...like Las Vegas or coastal cities like New York and San Francisco. Let's face it. Anyone on budget isn't coming because it costs too much. So that doesn't leave us much left. We sort of dug ourselves into a pretty big hole with no way out.
on April 28,2014 | 12:19PM
caloha wrote:
West Coasters aren't coming because Hawaiian Airlines is gouging the market and doesn't have daily service from all the Cali airports anymore. Yes, Oakland and San Jose and San Francisco are in the same general area, but its not like you can park your car at Oakland to fly to Hawaii and then fly back to California into San Jose and easily get your car at Oakland. Hawaiian is also making people fly through Kahului to get to Honolulu -- ridiculous. Not to mention the baggage fees. Not to mention the airfares are much higher this year. Not to mention that the on board "meal" is really just cheese and crackers.
on April 28,2014 | 01:00PM
samidunn wrote:
Hawaiian was forced to fly more flights from Maui. The state never kept Honolulu airport up. Compare Honolulu airport to any other major airport in the world.
on April 28,2014 | 02:41PM
handsomeguy wrote:
I'm ashamed of the way Honolulu airport has become so run down. It's just one step above looking like a dump. It has absolutely no class and certainly doesn't speak "tropical resort".
on April 28,2014 | 03:56PM
environmental_lady wrote:
And not to mention safety and security lapses with Hawaiian Air. Also, Asian travelers might be spooked after the Malaysian plane mystery with no solution in sight.
on April 28,2014 | 05:03PM
Surfer_Dude wrote:
Allison. Is a 2009 stock photo of a gray sky beach shot, the best you have? I mean you are the tourism reporter. Can't you do better than that? You don't have any sunny day beach shots to accompany your story.
on April 28,2014 | 01:57PM
cojef wrote:
State and local taxes are causing major corporations to flee California. Latest victim is Toyota is slated to move their headquarters office to Texas. Labor growth in minimum wage group and not middle class wage jobs. Middle class is shrinking and this is the core from where the tourist market depends on. With no growth in this group, the first to feel the effects of the economic down turn is the tourist trade.
on April 28,2014 | 02:13PM
Rapanui00 wrote:
its BEYOND falling apart - just another third world ghetto!
on April 28,2014 | 02:18PM
ISCREAM wrote:
Duh...with all the "tax" increases courtesy of Obamacare...
on April 28,2014 | 02:39PM
Pali_Hwy wrote:
Lasting memories are of pan handling homeless in your face, and walled off views of the ocean and mountains. What's the attraction?
on April 28,2014 | 02:50PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Golden week is not so golden any more.
on April 28,2014 | 03:43PM
Surfer_Dude wrote:
Any other stock pictures besides the cloudy day one with thunderstorm clouds that was taken in 2009? That pic will turn off any potential tourist. Come on.....no sunny day pics to put out there?
on April 28,2014 | 05:34PM
HD36 wrote:
Japan has the highest debt to GDP of any industrialized country at 220% and they just raised the national sales tax from 5% to 8%. China has the largest shadow banking system in the world. More than 65 million apartments sit vacant because the average price is 50x the annual salary. The United States is the largest debtor nation in the history of the world. Real income has fallen 8% in the last 5 years at the same time the Fed balance sheet has gone up 8%. The Fed's goals of the "wealth effect" policy, to increase asset prices, keep interest rates near historic lows, and taper from $85 billion a month of Treasury bond purchases and mortgage backed securities down to 0 by the end of the year without consequence to the bond market, stock market, and real estate market are akin to throwing up a baseball and never expecting it to come down. Yet these Harvard acedemics from the Eccles building would have you believe they can dial in a precise amount of inflation like a thermometer. In fact, it's more like chaos theory and they're playing with a nuclear reactor.
on April 28,2014 | 05:48PM
slacker47 wrote:
Midwest tourist here who still likes your warm weather in winter. However gravitating away from waikiki stay to Big Island stay. Old Hilo downtown nice compared to high end shops of waikiki,and Kona side nice too. Concrete towers of babel of waikiki not very tropical.
on April 28,2014 | 06:22PM
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