comscore Hawaii tourism up statewide in May, despite Kilauea eruption | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Hawaii tourism up statewide in May, despite Kilauea eruption

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / crussell@staradvertiser.com

    Arrivals and spending rose in May on Oahu as well as Maui, Lanai, and Kauai.

Despite the volcanic activity that began May 3 on Hawaii island, overall statewide visitor arrivals and spending continued growing in May.

Total visitor arrivals statewide increased 7 percent to 804,135 visitors in May year-over-year while spending rose 11 percent to $1.42 billion in May 2018, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The spending figure was not adjusted for inflation.

While air service was up 8 percent to 796,178 visitors, cruise ships were down to 7,957 passengers, a nearly 43 percent dip from May 2017. The cruise ship dip was related to Norwegian Cruise Line temporarily suspending Pride of America stops on Hawaii island. NCL, which has since returned to the Hawaii island market, canceled port calls to Hilo and Kona during three May voyages.

Hawaii island realized growth in visitor spending despite a nearly 2 percent decrease in visitor arrivals from May 2017. In response to the Kilauea volcano eruption, the Hawaii home-ported cruise ship canceled port calls to Hilo and Kona during three voyages in May. That prevented 6,600 visitors from stopping on Hawaii island in May.

Arrivals and spending fell on Molokai, but were up on Oahu, Maui, Lanai, and Kauai, despite some softening following the late April flooding on the isle’s North Shore.

“May was the fourth straight month that Hawaii’s tourism industry realized double-digit increases in air seat capacity and visitor spending, two key categories that are interrelated and vital to the state’s economic health,” George D. Szigeti, HTA president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “The growth in both categories is especially noteworthy as May has historically been an off-peak shoulder month for travel to the Hawaiian Islands. It’s encouraging to know that both air carriers and travel consumers expressed such confidence in Hawaii as a travel destination during May.”

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