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Hawaii tourism had a strong January, but impact of coronavirus seen in Chinese market

  • BRUCE ASATO/ Feb. 2
                                Travelers from Asia, many sporting masks, make their way from the enclosed international arrivals customs area at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport earlier this month. Hawaii tourism grew by 5% last month before the industry started to see the affects of the coronavirus on travel.

    BRUCE ASATO/ Feb. 2

    Travelers from Asia, many sporting masks, make their way from the enclosed international arrivals customs area at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport earlier this month. Hawaii tourism grew by 5% last month before the industry started to see the affects of the coronavirus on travel.

Visitor arrivals and spending posted solid growth in January before tourism was beginning to feel the impacts of the coronavirus.

In January, 862,574 visitors came to Hawaii, 5% more than came during the same month last year, according to a report released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority today. Non-inflation adjusted spending by these visitors also rose 5% year-over-year to $1.7 billion.

Part of the growth likely was due to the 6% year-over-year rise in trans-Pacific air seats which rose to more than 1.2 million.

January arrivals and spending grew year-over-year from Hawaii’s core U.S. West, the U.S. East and Japan, but fell in the major markets of Canada and a category called “all others,” which includes all international visitors from nations outside of Japan and Canada.

Cruise visitors, which include arrivals by cruise ships and by air to board cruise ships, also decreased.

A breakdown of the “all others” category shows that visitor arrivals from China, the country that’s been hit the hardest by the coronavirus, were down by 20% and spending dropped nearly 2%.

Visitor arrivals from Korea, which currently has the most cases of coronavirus outside of China, fell 23%, although spending rose more than 3%.

Visitor arrivals from Australia fell 2%, while spending dropped by more than 7%. Visitor arrivals also declined from Latin America and Europe. However, arrivals increased from Taiwan and New Zealand.

Results across the islands were mixed. On Oahu, visitors increased, but spending fell. Maui, Hawaii island and Kauai posted growth in arrivals and spending.

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