Read us | Listen to us | Watch us | Join Live Events | Turn Off Ads | Live |

Click on your language to translate this article:

Afrikaans Afrikaans Albanian Albanian Amharic Amharic Arabic Arabic Armenian Armenian Azerbaijani Azerbaijani Basque Basque Belarusian Belarusian Bengali Bengali Bosnian Bosnian Bulgarian Bulgarian Catalan Catalan Cebuano Cebuano Chichewa Chichewa Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Traditional) Chinese (Traditional) Corsican Corsican Croatian Croatian Czech Czech Danish Danish Dutch Dutch English English Esperanto Esperanto Estonian Estonian Filipino Filipino Finnish Finnish French French Frisian Frisian Galician Galician Georgian Georgian German German Greek Greek Gujarati Gujarati Haitian Creole Haitian Creole Hausa Hausa Hawaiian Hawaiian Hebrew Hebrew Hindi Hindi Hmong Hmong Hungarian Hungarian Icelandic Icelandic Igbo Igbo Indonesian Indonesian Irish Irish Italian Italian Japanese Japanese Javanese Javanese Kannada Kannada Kazakh Kazakh Khmer Khmer Korean Korean Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kurdish (Kurmanji) Kyrgyz Kyrgyz Lao Lao Latin Latin Latvian Latvian Lithuanian Lithuanian Luxembourgish Luxembourgish Macedonian Macedonian Malagasy Malagasy Malay Malay Malayalam Malayalam Maltese Maltese Maori Maori Marathi Marathi Mongolian Mongolian Myanmar (Burmese) Myanmar (Burmese) Nepali Nepali Norwegian Norwegian Pashto Pashto Persian Persian Polish Polish Portuguese Portuguese Punjabi Punjabi Romanian Romanian Russian Russian Samoan Samoan Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic Serbian Serbian Sesotho Sesotho Shona Shona Sindhi Sindhi Sinhala Sinhala Slovak Slovak Slovenian Slovenian Somali Somali Spanish Spanish Sudanese Sudanese Swahili Swahili Swedish Swedish Tajik Tajik Tamil Tamil Telugu Telugu Thai Thai Turkish Turkish Ukrainian Ukrainian Urdu Urdu Uzbek Uzbek Vietnamese Vietnamese Welsh Welsh Xhosa Xhosa Yiddish Yiddish Yoruba Yoruba Zulu Zulu

Hawaii visitors drop nearly 17 percent in March

Written by editor

The number of visitors to Hawaii plunged 16.6 percent in April compared to the same month a year ago, led by a sharp drop-off in the number of tourists from California, according to state figures rele

The number of visitors to Hawaii plunged 16.6 percent in April compared to the same month a year ago, led by a sharp drop-off in the number of tourists from California, according to state figures released Tuesday.

There were 555,902 arrivals, down from 666,167 in March 2008. The average length of stay was stable at about nine days, but tourists spent nearly 10 percent less. The declines have hit the state’s No. 1 industry hard, resulting in everything from mass layoffs to drastic reductions in tax collections.

For the quarter, arrivals fell 14 percent from nearly 1.9 million to 1.6 million.

Tourism officials fear the recent swine flu outbreak could only exacerbate Hawaii’s tourism woes, even though no cases have been reported in the islands.

The number of Californians traveling to the islands plummeted by 36 percent, contributing to the 25 percent drop from the West Coast, the biggest regional market for Hawaii. Visitors from the East Coast decreased 20 percent.

“March visitor statistics continue to reflect the impact global economic conditions are having on our economy,” state tourism liaison Marsha Wienert said in a statement.

She said another factor for the decline was that Easter and spring break week for students, which were both in March last year, shifted to April this year.

Total spending by visitors coming by airplane, which accounted for about 97 percent of all tourists, fell 24.4 percent, or $258.4 million, to $800.1 million in March. The average tourist spent $163 a day, down from $180 in March 2008.

All islands saw fewer visitors in March, with Oahu faring better than the rest with a decline of 16.3 percent to 327,357. The smallest islands of Molokai (36.2) and Lanai (30) had the sharpest declines, followed by Maui (25.8), Kauai (24.7) and the Big Island (17.7).

The islands, in particular Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, were hurt by the loss of the Pride of Aloha, which was taken out of Hawaii’s interisland market by Norwegian Cruise Lines in May 2008 and renamed the Norwegian Sky for service in the Bahamas.

More than a third of the decline in arrivals on the Big Island and Kauai can be attributed to fewer cruise ship passengers.

Total expenditures on the Big Island plummeted 26 percent, while Maui (24.2) and Kauai (17.6) were also hit hard. Oahu saw a 10.8 percent drop.

The lone bright spot in the dismal figures was that arrivals from Japan increased slightly by 0.6 percent, in part because of the strength of the yen. The number of Japanese honeymooners surged 23 percent in March. However, Japanese visitor spending dipped by $19 to an average of $268 a day.