March marked the 13th consecutive month that total visitor arrivals to Hawaii have exceeded previous records.
Visitor arrivals bumped up 0.8 percent to 786,262 visitors. Those visitors spent $1.3 billion or $183 per person per day, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. March’s numbers helped boost year-to-date arrivals up 3.6 percent to 2.2 million and spending up 2.6 percent to $4 billion.
“Hawaii’s tourism industry is fortunate to have enjoyed a strong first quarter, one that has the State ahead of last year’s record-setting pace,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of HTA.
Domestic visitors made up the majority of March visitors, as 316,591 visitors came from the U.S. West and 176,894 came from the U.S. East. The number of U.S. visitors in March increased from the prior period by 4.2 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Visitors from the mainland brought in $754.8 million in March — U.S. West, spent $451.6 million, and U.S. East, spent $303.2 million.
International visitors in March, excluding those from Japan and Canada, grew 6.8 percent to 92,413. Those travelers spent $220.7 million.
There was a 13.8 percent decrease in arrivals from Canada. HTA said Canada’s economic slowdown continues to drag down travel bookings to the isles as March was the 3rd consecutive month of declines in arrivals and expenditures.
The Canadians who came to Hawaii spent significantly less in the isles with total spending falling 18.6 percent to $132.3 million. Year-to-date arrivals from Canada are down 12.2 and spending declined 19.3 percent to $407 million.
March arrivals from Japan, Hawaii’s largest international market, decreased 0.7 percent to 126,943 visitors. Year-to-date the number of visitors from Japan vacationing in Hawaii was up 2 percent to 361,523.
Visitors from Japan were spending $156.7 million, a 5.6 percent decline from the year prior. Year-to-date spending declined 5.1 percent $477 million.
Spending from Japanese visitors might also have dropped because 22.4 percent more of them made their own travel arrangements in March, continuing a trend that has seen 11 months of double-digit increases.
The number of lovebirds looking to vacation on the isles fell in March as visitors coming to honeymoon or get married dropped 14.6 percent from last year.
Cruise visitors also fell 53.2 percent to 6,874 visitors, and their spending dropped 31 percent to $2.6 million. Only five out-of-state cruise ships arrived in March compared to the eight ships that brought 14,698 visitors to Hawaii in March 2015. Visitors who arrived by airlines in March to embark on home-ported cruises fell 48.1 percent compared with the prior year. Year-to-date cruise ship arrivals have fallen 36.3 percent to 22,707, while spending decreased 12 percent to $8.6 million.