In February 2020, flight cancellations to the Hawaiian Islands began due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The China market had the greatest impact during February with direct air service suspended on February 3 due to a travel ban on Chinese citizens to the U.S. However, overall visitor spending was up.
Total spending by visitors in the Hawaiian Islands increased to $1.46 billion (+4.6%) in February 2020, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. This represented an average of $50.3 million per day, an increase of 1.0 percent compared to February 2019. The average daily census1 showed 250,052 total visitors in Hawaii on any given day in February, which was slightly higher (+0.5%) compared to a year ago. Most visitors arrived by air service (+0.4%, 247,493 visitors per day) and some traveled by cruise ships (+9.3%, 2,558 visitors per day).
For visitors arriving by air, U.S. West spending (+9.7% to $19.8 million per day) and the average daily census (+7.7% to 105,233 visitors per day) increased in February, compared to a year ago. U.S. East visitor spending (+8.6% to $14.4 million per day) and the average daily census (+4.3% to 65,827 visitors per day) also rose in February year-over-year.
Japan visitor spending (-2.9% to $5.7 million per day) and the average daily census declined (-4.1% to 23,395 visitors per day) in February, versus a year ago. Canada visitor spending (-7.3% to $5.0 million per day) and the average daily census (-7.0% to 27,223 visitors per day) also declined. Combined spending by visitors from All Other markets (-26.2% to $5.3 million per day) and the average daily census (-19.3% to 25,815 visitors per day) decreased as well.
Total air seats to the Hawaiian Islands increased in February (+9.5% to 1,107,405), with the daily average also up (+5.8% to 38,186 seats per day) compared to a year ago. Growth in average daily scheduled air seats from U.S. East (+18.9% 3,739 seats per day) and U.S. West (+11.4%, 23,536 seats per day) offset decreases from Other Asia (-30.1% to 1,095 seats per day), Oceania (-13.3% to 1,070 seats per day), Canada (-9.3% to 2,126 seats per day) and Japan (-1.2% to 5,581 seats per day).
U.S. West: In February, visitor arrivals from the Pacific and Mountain regions increased, with the mix of visitors (Pacific region 79.9%, and Mountain region 20.1% of total U.S. West) similar to a year ago.
Through the first two months of 2020, visitor arrivals grew from both the Pacific and Mountain regions. Year-to-date, per person per day visitor spending increased to $187 (+2.6%). Lodging, shopping, and food and beverage expenses were higher, while transportation, and entertainment and recreation expenses were about the same compared to the first two months of 2019.
U.S. East: All U.S. East regions in February showed growth in visitor arrivals compared to a year ago. The mix of visitors was also consistent with February 2019. The two largest regions continued to be East North Central (23.9% of U.S. East) and South Atlantic (19% of U.S. East).
Through the first two months of 2020, every region recorded increased visitor arrivals. Per person per day visitor spending of $223 was up (+3.7%) compared to a year ago. Lodging and transportation expenses increased, while shopping, and food and beverage expenses were slightly lower. Entertainment and recreation expenses were similar to a year ago.
Japan: For the first two months of 2020, per person per day visitor spending was up slightly (+1.0% to $241) compared to a year ago. Lodging, food and beverage, transportation, and entertainment and recreation expenses increased, while spending on shopping declined.
Canada: For the first two months of 2020, per person per day visitor spending rose to $179 (+1.1%). Food and beverage, entertainment and recreation, and shopping expenses increased, while lodging and transportation expenses were similar to a year ago.