Visitor arrivals and spending continued increasing in August, albeit at a less robust pace than earlier in the year.
Statewide visitor arrivals increased more than 3 percent to 845,072 visitors in August while spending rose more than 1 percent to $1.4 billion, according to statistics released this morning by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
George D. Szigeti, HTA president and chief executive officer said in a statement, “Although both visitor spending and arrivals increased in August compared to a year ago, we expected better results for this peak travel month. Hurricane Lane deterred a segment of travelers from staying in the Hawaiian Islands, which was compounded by the continuing negative effect Kilauea volcano had on the island of Hawaii.”
Monthly visitor spending fell from Japan but increased from the U.S. West, U.S. East, Canada and for all other international markets. Monthly visitor arrivals increased from the U.S. West and U.S. East, but declined from Japan and Canada and was flat for the all other international markets category. The number of visitors in the state on any given day in August, was 235,963, up nearly 4 percent from August 2017.
In August, Oahu and Kauai experienced monthly increases in arrivals and visitor spending. Maui posted monthly arrivals growth but experienced a decline in spending. Hawaii island saw decreases in monthly spending and arrivals.
The fluctuations in arrivals occurred despite a 6 percent gain in trans-Pacific air seats which added seats to the U.S. West, U.S. East, Oceania, Other Asia, U.S. West, Canada and Japan and grew to nearly 1.2 million in August.
Szigeti said the increase in August visitor spending was the lowest monthly increase since May 2016 and the increase in monthly spending was the lowest of any month so far this year.
“These figures are a reminder as to how vulnerable tourism can be to events beyond our control and why we can never assume the impressive rates of growth Hawaii was achieving the first half of this year will continue unabated for the foreseeable future,” Szigeti said.
Despite the pace of growth softening somewhat in August, Szigeti said Hawaii continued to pace ahead of last year’s record through the first eight months of 2018.
Year-to-date through August, statewide visitor spending rose nearly 9 percent to just over $12 billion. Year-to-date, total visitor arrivals grew more than 7 percent to about 6.8 million visitors, with growth from the U.S. West, U.S. East, Japan, Canada, and the combined category other international markets, which includes all foreign visitors outside of Japan and Canada.