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June visitor numbers show gains in arrivals and spending

The Hawaii Tourism Authority this morning reported gains in visitor arrivals and spending in June, the first month both categories have been up since November.

However, the rise wasn’t high enough to break the year-to-date trend of more visitors coming to Hawaii and spending less while they are here. Until now, arrivals had been growing since February 2017, but tourism spending had been falling for seven months.

In June, visitor spending statewide rose nearly 3% to $1.6 billion compared to the same month a year ago. The results were due to higher spending from Hawaii’s core U.S. West market and its second-largest market the U.S. East. Still, June visitor spending fell from Japan, Hawaii’s top international market; the mature Canadian market; and from an umbrella category that HTA calls “all other international markets,” which includes foreign markets outside of Japan and Canada.

Last month, visitor arrivals also increased by more than 6% to 951,628 visitors. More visitors came from North America, but they dropped from Japan and from all other international markets. On any given day, more than 279,087 visitors were in Hawaii — that’s up nearly 3% from June 2018.

June results were mixed across the islands with Maui and Hawaii island posting gains in arrivals and spending. Kauai came in flat and Oahu experienced a rise in arrivals, but a drop in spending.

There were nearly 1.2 million trans-Pacific air seats serving the Hawaiian islands last month, a nearly 4 percent rise from June 2018. Air seats increased from the U.S. West and U.S. East but fell from all other major markets.

June results were strong in part because they were being measured against the period in 2018 when softening began to occur due to weather-related woes in Hawaii and Japan, heightened eruptive activity at Kilauea volcano, and a labor strike that affected five major hotels on Oahu and Maui.

For the first half of the year, visitor spending fell 2% to nearly $8.9 billion, while arrivals increased more than 4% to nearly 5.2 million visitors. Through June, the U.S. West was the only major market area that posted spending gains. Arrivals during the first six months rose from every major market except the all other international markets category.

Year-to-date through June, Oahu managed to post increases in visitor arrivals and spending. However, Maui saw an increase in visitor arrivals, but a decline in visitor spending. Hawaii island and Kauai posted decreases in arrivals and spending.

In the first half of this year, total trans-Pacific air seats statewide rose nearly 2% to almost 6.8 million. Arrivals by cruise ships and by air to board cruise ships grew to 140,749, a gain of more than 8% during the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2018.

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