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July sets single-month record for Hawaii visitors


    People watched the sunset on Waikiki Beach ahead of Hurricane Lane, Aug. 23, in Honolulu. Despite volcanic-activity related softening on Hawaii island, more visitors came to Hawaii in July than in any other month in the state’s history.

Despite volcanic-activity related softening on Hawaii island, more visitors came to Hawaii in July than in any other month in the state’s history.

Visitor arrivals statewide rose just over 5 percent to 939,360 visitors in July, while spending increased nearly 5 percent to nearly $1.7 billion, according to preliminary statistics released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) today. The average visitor census on any given day in July also rose more than 5 percent to 274,883; although, average daily spending by visitors in July remained flat at $195.

The monthly visitor industry performance was aided by a nearly 6 percent gain in July trans-Pacific air seats to more than 1.2 million air seats – the highest monthly total in Hawaii’s history. More seats were added to the U.S. West, U.S. East, Canada and Oceania, which helped offset declines in air seats from Japan and other Asia.

Visitor arrivals by air increased from Hawaii’s core U.S. West market, its second-best U.S. East market, and its largest international market Japan and Canada; however, they dropped slightly from the category all other international markets, which includes all Asian markets outside of Japan as well as Europe, Latin America and Oceania.

George Szigeti, HTA president and chief executive officer said in a statement, “These totals speak to the strong travel demand that Hawaii’s brand continues to command and the confidence that airlines have in serving the Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaii island, which still has not come back from the Kilauea eruption that began May 3, was the only major island not to post gains in visitor arrivals and spending. Visitor arrivals on Hawaii island fell almost 13 percent to 153,906 and visitor spending decreased just over 7 percent to $201 million. There was a nearly 40 percent drop in July visitor day trips to Hawaii island, which saw its average daily census fall more than 8 percent to 36,753 visitors.

“We are confident HTA’s release of more than $2-million in emergency funding to support targeted marketing programs by Hawaii Tourism United States and Hawaii Tourism Japan promoting travel to the island of Hawaii will help reverse this downward trend. We anticipate seeing the pace of bookings for the island of Hawaii to again rise and become more in line with what is being reported by Oahu, Maui County and Kauai,” Szigeti said.

Despite the sharp drop in Hawaii island performance in July, year-to-date visitor performance statewide continued to trend ahead of the same period last year. Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii island realized growth in both visitor spending and arrivals over the first seven months compared to the same period last year. Through July, Hawaii island realized nearly 7 percent growth in visitor spending to more than $1.5 billion and arrivals increased nearly 4 percent to 1,084,324.

During the first seven months, total trans-Pacific air seats increased by nearly 6 percent to 1,203,885. The additional seats contributed to a nearly 8 percent rise in visitor arrivals statewide, which hit 5.9 million with increases from U.S. West, U.S. East, Japan, Canada and all other international markets category. Year-to-date visitor spending rose nearly 10 percent to more than $10.9 billion.

“Tourism’s benefits are reflected in the businesses supported locally and the jobs created for residents,” Szigeti said. “Government continues to benefit as well from tourism’s success, as $1.28 billion in state tax revenue has been generated, which is nearly 10 percent and $114 million more than last year at this time.”

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