HONOLULU, Hawaii – For July 2015, visitor spending topped $1.42 billion (+4.0%) and visitor arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands gained another 5.6 percent, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA). Most major market areas experienced increased arrivals, led by a 7.2 percent jump in visitors from U.S. West (23,681 more visitors than last year) and U.S. East (+4.9%, 8,653 more visitors). The volume of visitors from Canada and Japan grew 9.5 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively. July 2015 turned out to be the busiest month on record with 816,345 visitors who arrived by air or by cruise ship.
Despite the gain in visitor arrivals, only U.S. West saw higher personal daily spending (+4.3% to $162 per person per day) in July 2015. Furthermore, total expenditures by U.S. West (+10.8% to $539.1 million) and Canadian (+3.6% to $47.3 million) visitors increased, while Japanese visitor expenditures declined 5.4 percent to $194.6 million. U.S. East visitor expenditures of $382.4 million (-0.4%) was similar to 2014.
All four larger Hawaiian Islands saw growth in arrivals: Maui (+7.6%), Hawaii Island (+5.6%), Oahu (+3.1%) and Kauai (+2.7%), which contributed to visitor days and visitor expenditure growth on all four islands. However, Lanai witnessed a drastic drop in visitors (-24.5%) and total visitor spending (-81.4%) with only 11 hotels rooms on the entire island currently in operation.
There were 1,097,366 total air seats to Hawaii in July 2015, up 6.3 percent from a year ago. Growth in scheduled seats from Canada (+29.9%), Oceania (+13.9%), U.S. East (+11.7%), U.S. West (+6.6%) and a slight increase from Japan (+0.8%) offset a decline in available capacity from Other Asia (-6.9%). The addition of one large cruise ship in July 2015 boosted arrivals by ship by 233 percent.
Through the first seven months of 2015, arrivals rose 4.2 percent and visitor spending increased to $9 billion (+3.6%). Growth in arrivals from U.S. West (+8.4%) and U.S. East (+2.3%), balanced fewer visitors from Japan (-1.4%). Expenditures by U.S. West (+7.9% to $3.2 billion) and Canadian (+3.6% to $717.2 million) visitors increased, but U.S. East (-1.2% to $2.3 billion) and Japanese (-10.1% to $1.2 billion) visitor expenditures declined compared to the first seven months of 2014.
Maui (+6%), Hawaii Island (+5.3%), Kauai (+4.9%) and Oahu (+2.7%) saw growth in arrivals compared to year-to-date 2014. Higher daily spending contributed to increased visitor expenditures on Maui (+7.2% to $2.6 billion) and Kauai (+16.3% to $981 million). Visitor expenditures on Oahu ($4.2 billion) and Hawaii Island ($1.1 billion) were comparable to a year ago.
George D. Szigeti, President and CEO, Hawaii Tourism Authority, issued the following statement today:
July was the strongest month for visitor arrivals on record, bringing 816,345 visitors (+5.6%) to the state, who contributed $1.4 billion (+4.0%) in spending. This helped to push spending to $9 billion (+3.6%) for the first seven months of the year, contributing $958.17 million in state tax revenue, an increase of 3.6% percent year-over-year.
The growth we have been experiencing is keeping us on track for another milestone year for Hawaii’s visitor industry. While the growth is not as significant as in previous years, we are still projecting to reach new records in spending and arrivals for 2015.
While our U.S. West and Oceania markets have been doing particularly well, we remain cognizant of global economic uncertainty as we move forward. A slowing of China’s economy and fluctuations in the domestic and international stock markets, coupled with the strengthening of the U.S. dollar could impact both our domestic and international visitor arrivals and spending trends. We continue to work with our global market contractors to adjust our marketing efforts in response to these economic factors.