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Hawaii visitor arrivals, spending decline again

By Dave Segal

LAST UPDATED: 01:42 p.m. HST, May 29, 2014

Hawaii's record tourism numbers of the last two years are turning into a distant memory.

The protracted slump in the state's top industry continued its downturn in April as visitor arrivals for the month slipped 0.7 percent from the year-earlier period and spending declined 2.2 percent, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

 Spending, considered a harbinger of the industry's health, has now declined for eight months in a row.

Visitors from the U.S. West, the state's No. 1 market, fell 1.4 percent and tourists from Japan, the top international market, declined 1.6 percent. Overall, the number of visitors to Hawaii fell to 662,553 from 666,959 in April 2013.

Despite the lower numbers, U.S. West visitors did spend 2.9 percent more in April than the same period a year ago but U.S. East visitors spent 6.9 percent less.  Overall spending declined to $1.08 billion from $1.10 billion.

Through the first four months of this year, arrivals are down 2.6 percent and spending is off 2.9 percent.

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Kahu Matu wrote:
Wasn't there a projection that civil unions and same sex marriages would increase revenue and visitor arrivals significantly? Guess they are having just the opposite effect. There have been more gay unions than 2 years ago, but the tourism industry has taken a hit as we have sold off our moral standards in hopes of a few more bucks, masking under the idea of "equality". Just like rail is masked by the idea of reducing traffic congestion. Should we be surprised that our politicians are not truthful or merely in the pockets of big donors? Sad news for Hawaii.
on May 29,2014 | 01:04PM
samidunn wrote:
Kahu Matu - Your right on!
on May 29,2014 | 01:26PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
With the largest decrease being from Japan, where homosexuality is still held negatively, the connection is obvious. If homosexuality is hidden in Japan, why would you vacation in a place where it is shoved in your face with such passion. Obviously the politicians were blinded by the mainland money filling their pockets to pass such legislation, even at the vocal opposition of majority of Hawaii. I will be voting against Abercrombie and the others who have little vision but their own self-interests.
on May 29,2014 | 02:32PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Excellent comment. I am surprised it was not sent for approval.
on May 29,2014 | 04:14PM
false wrote:
Your last sentence says it all.
on May 29,2014 | 04:33PM
HD36 wrote:
Consider that the revised first quarter GDP numbers for the US came in at -1.0 not the stated .01. Estimates were for 2%. Consider, that durable goods orders came out positive but $18 billion was from submarine military sales. Discretionary income is falling in the US. Abenomics in Japan has caused the Yen to fall from 78 to 1 to 103 to 1. Japan also increased the national sales tax in April 40%. America is the largest debtor nation in the world while Japan has the highest debt to GDP ratio of any industrialized country. The short term effects of bond monetization have worn off for both countries. The next stage of massive money printing is inflation. We should see prices increasing at a rate of 9-12% by the end of the year. The Fed won't even recognize it because of the manipulated methodology they use to calculate the CPI.
on May 29,2014 | 04:46PM
HD36 wrote:
Consider, that since Abenomics was instituted in 2010 the Yen has fallen about 30$ against the dollar. The national sales tax in Japan was increased about 40% in April. Japan had the largest trade deficit on record last year. Japan has the largest debt to GDP ratio of any industrialized nation. In other words, these notorious savers, are getting their wealth confiscated through monetary debasement, taxation, and trade deficits. Discretionary spending is falling in the land of the rising sun.
on May 29,2014 | 04:51PM
localguy wrote:
HD36 - Did you try and make up your post on Japan's economy? Way too many errors. As in national sales tax was not increased by 40%. Not even close. It currently is 5% and will be raised to 8%. Clearly a product of the Nei's failing educational system. Japan tax ref: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-24343540
on May 29,2014 | 08:51PM
localguy wrote:
Kahu Matu - You keep blaming the wrong source. Actually Japan has been opening up more for gay lifestyle, not a big deal anymore. With more and more states allowing gay marriage, most of the European union, other countries, it is becoming an accepted life style. Need to do your research and find the real problem. As in high airfares and hotel rooms, less value for the money coming to Hawaii, better travel options available for less money on the mainland.
on May 29,2014 | 08:44PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
So the politicians promises of more tourist money for gay marriage and civil unions is actually occurring??? Fact is numbers are down since the inception of CUs and Gay marriage. You can try to spin it to fit your worldview, but it doesn't change the facts. Japan is not opening up more! If you have sources, give them, otherwise it is an argument from silence.
on May 29,2014 | 09:49PM
8082062424 wrote:
With more and more states allowing gay marriage,. is true. but what also true it courts who are forcing this on states and folks who live in them. and also law makers..to say it becoming a more accepted life style is a stretch it being force on folks. im sorry some folks will stay away from Hawaii for that reason. same as some gay folks also will stay away because everything hits the news and what was no seen on the news was carried by mouth Hawaii is not the most gay friendly state., it just two reason of many that dropping the numbers
on May 29,2014 | 10:03PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
So true. Wish this entire ideology was not brought into the public arena to be debated, because we all come out looking very bad.
on May 29,2014 | 10:29PM
localguy wrote:
Kahu Matu - Clearly a product of the Nei's failing educational system. Gay marriages have nothing to do with Hawaii's failing tourism numbers. Try "Been there, done that" high air fares, homeless everywhere, better places to visit for less money, and Hawaii Tourism Authority hasn't got a clue what to do. Bureaucrats need to cut back on spending, live within our means. Yeah, like that will ever happen.
on May 29,2014 | 08:41PM
AhiPoke wrote:
As I see it, the problem with the visitor industry and our state government, when things are going well their first thoughts are raise rates and raise taxes. In today's world there are many tropical destinations that we compete with. Even though I consider Hawaii the best, for many people price makes a difference.
on May 29,2014 | 01:56PM
sayer wrote:
It would be interesting to see which sectors of our visitors have declined.
on May 29,2014 | 02:45PM
HD36 wrote:
Driving around everyday, I've noticed that the tour trollies are less than half full and sometimes empty. I see many taxi drivers using up metered spots waiting for hours nowadays. I see many high end stores, empty in Waikiki.
on May 29,2014 | 04:56PM
bombay2101 wrote:
The problem is that the homeless are chasing the tourists out of in Waikiki. Gay or straight, why would you want to stay in Waikiki and be hassled? No doubt word of this real problem (that nobody seems to have the courage to resolve) spreads both on the mainland and in Japan. Maybe the pinch will finally get the attention of those who have a financial interest in tourism, who can then bring pressure to our politicians to act. If left to the politicians' own initiative, the problem will not be addressed.
on May 29,2014 | 01:59PM
whs1966 wrote:
IRT Kahu Matu and samidunn: How do you know the decrease in tourist arrivals has anything to do with the civil union and gay marriage issue? There is absolutely no information in the article to support your homophobic position. Perhaps the arrival and spending numbers would have been worse if not for the LGBT visitors. For all we know, the decrease is due to the fact that Waikiki is nothing but a bunch of expensive high-rises encroaching on a narrow stretch of beach lapped by murky water and the ever-present vagrants and panhandlers.
on May 29,2014 | 02:02PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
Perhaps whs...but the tourism industry does not appear to be suffering at other tropical destinations, so you are left with the WHY's? Could it be because of homeless? No, they've always been around. Could it be because of expensive high-rises encroaching on the narrow beach? No, because they just expanded the narrow beach a bit. My comment was to the fact that erronious statistics were given citing the passage of civil unions and same-sex marriage would bring lots of tourists and money, while the reality is just the opposite. The same false figures were given for Rail, so just wait until we see that reality debacle and the government turns to us homeowners who are feeling already overtaxed. Our political officials make dumb decisions for their own political advancement and their own riches, while the rest of us are left to deal with the consequences.
on May 29,2014 | 02:26PM
localguy wrote:
KM - Admit it. You haven't got a clue what the problem is, just throwing darts to see if one sticks. Homeless is on the rise and they are becoming more aggressive. Or do you not read the paper and understand. Actually with more states opening up to gay marriage, a honey moon trip to HI is no big deal and way over priced. Face it. People are realizing a Hawaii vacation is way to expensive for the average family. They can all go on a Bahamas cruise for less. Try and post some real information, not shibai.
on May 29,2014 | 08:55PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
I work with homeless and do not find your assertion to be true. States are not opening up to gay marriage, courts are overruling constitutional amendments and votes. People are still not fully accepting gay marriage although a state court may rule different. Open your eyes and your mind to see things as they really are.
on May 29,2014 | 09:54PM
MariaBetty wrote:
Blame it on time shares with kitchen amenities and airlines with new luggage restrictions and fees.
on May 29,2014 | 02:05PM
localguy wrote:
Exactly. Was watching the Suze Orman financial show. One person wanted to take the family to Hawaii at $6,000. Suze reviewed her finances and disapproved her. Saying there were much better travel deals closer to home. She is right.
on May 29,2014 | 08:57PM
kiragirl wrote:
Increase in homeless and hotel rates equate to decrease in visitors. Reduce homelessness and hotel rates and visitors will increase.
on May 29,2014 | 02:46PM
Slow wrote:
Hey Kahu Mahu, when you vacation do you actually investigate how gays are treated? No one else cares but please enjoy your vacation in Russia where they know how to treat gays. Much more likely is the crowds, constant noise, traffic, drug-dealing, begging, prostitution and wretched homeless.
on May 29,2014 | 02:53PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
Not sure where you live but town isn't that bad. A tourist destination that overly promotes homosexuality vs a culture of tourists who do not publicly condone homosexuality will not bode well for Hawaii. The point I was making is that the politicians were lying and merely the puppets of special interests, not of the people they represent. There's a reason why you call them "career politicians". They know how to make money and look out for themselves.
on May 29,2014 | 05:17PM
localguy wrote:
KM - And where are your references to show the Nei is over promoting the gay life style? Only in your mind. Lets look at San Francisco, a gay friendly city for decades. Tourism is thriving there. Gay lifestyle is not an issue. SF is cheaper to get to, and while an expensive city, still far less costly than a Nei vacation. You really are prejudiced against gays. Wonder why? Are you Mormon?
on May 29,2014 | 09:00PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
SF is not ohana oriented or as traditionally minded as our community. SF is known for hippies, drugs, and gays. Hawaii was known for aloha, family, and community. Politicians trying to make Hawaii into SF is a sad dream and is completely contrary to the people of Hawaii. Did you see the vocal majority who came out to testify against Gay Marriage? Hawaii loves all people but finds it difficult to support something that opposes family and community.
on May 29,2014 | 10:00PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
Spirit airlines makes flights to Hawaii cheap so your assertion of flight price is false.
on May 29,2014 | 10:03PM
Ronin006 wrote:
What was it that Abercrombie said about being able to fund preschool and other vote-buying programs and raise the minimum wage because the economy had turned around?
on May 29,2014 | 04:13PM
HD36 wrote:
He's said the basically the same thing that Obama, Yellen, and all the cheerleaders on CNBC are saying, : We did it, we saved the economy from the bring of global disaster in 2008 and it's recovering. Well, 6 years into the recovery and America has depression like economic numbers. Still no mention on when and how they are going to unload over $4.5 trillion dollars of US treasury bonds and mortgage backed securities sitting on the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve. Linear economic models can't predict the next meltdown because they've tried to fix a structural problem by injecting liquidity. Think of it as an avalanche. You can't predict which snow flack will start the chain reaction which causes all of them to start falling, but you know at some point it will happen if the structure is unsound.
on May 29,2014 | 05:07PM
Retired_Navy_LDO wrote:
I agree with all of the reasons mentioned (homeless everywhere, higher hotel rates/taxes and same sex marriage tourism) as negatives. Others that I think may possibly be affecting tourism are rail construction mess -- and a dramatic increase in the number of Kona wind/VOG days over what use to be the norm. There have been days when the VOG is worse that LA SMOG. Why would I want to vacation in a place like that. It's made me consider leaving and I have a good paying job and own a house here.
on May 29,2014 | 04:23PM
false wrote:
So………should we not re-elect the gov.?
on May 29,2014 | 04:34PM
localguy wrote:
Your support of gay lifestyle fails to meet the standard for the Nei's failing tourism. People are quick to blame when they do not understand the big picture. San Francisco has been gay friendly for decades, tourism is thriving. SF has a better and cheaper tourism package than the Nei ever will. No expensive flights, can drive there, all in all a much better deal for the money. Lets not forget with more states accepting gay marriages, their tourism will do just fine. Only ones who can't accept gay lifestyle are those stuck in the past. Either accept change or be left behind.
on May 29,2014 | 09:04PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
So Neil lied or was just ignorant? Which one to show that his promises were WRONG and that he should not be reelected?
on May 29,2014 | 10:01PM
ISCREAM wrote:
No surprise here...Obamacare is sucking the life out of the middle class...
on May 29,2014 | 04:29PM
mcc wrote:
High hotel rates, high food prices, high airfares, dirty rest rooms, homeless sleeping in front of their expensive hotel, bad traffic, bad roads, etc. Why else did they stop coming?
on May 29,2014 | 04:30PM
jskydell wrote:
The decline in tourism is probably most affected by the conditions on Waikiki Beach and the downtown area of Honolulu. Homelessness is found in all cities around the world, but having people sleeping on the streets, relieving themselves on the street, being boisterous with tourists does not mix well with what tourists perceive when they think of Hawaii!
on May 29,2014 | 05:26PM
Wazdat wrote:
Sad to say it's only going to get worse. Terrible traffic, high prices, people sleeping on the streets, beaches and side walks. Beautiful weather and beaches only go so far.
on May 29,2014 | 05:49PM
kapnui wrote:
I hate to say the G word...
on May 29,2014 | 06:09PM
kapnui wrote:
I meant gambling.
on May 29,2014 | 06:10PM
aionokea43 wrote:
Its time for the Council of Revenue to cut their forecast again for the tourism arrivals and spending will continue to decline for the rest of the year. The State government spends money foolishly. Up until a few months ago, the State departments were spending money like it was an open faucet. The Governor wants pre-school education, well, after he loses the primary, he should donate the balance in his campaign funds to the DOE to hire more teachers.
on May 29,2014 | 06:34PM
Anonymous wrote:
Air travel these days is more of a chore than a relaxing adventure.
on May 29,2014 | 07:22PM
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