In March 2020, both Hawaii visitor spending and Hawaii visitor arrivals were down more than 50 percent compared to a year ago, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to preliminary statistics released today.
Flight cancellations to the Hawaiian Islands began in February 2020, initially affecting the China market. In March the majority of flights to Hawaii were cancelled, and the industry really started to see the impact.
On March 13, most cruise lines voluntarily suspended ship operations in U.S. waters. On March 17, Hawaii Gov. David Ige asked upcoming visitors to postpone their trips for at least the next 30 days. The counties also began issuing stay-at-home orders. As of March 26, all passengers arriving from out-of-state were required to abide by a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine.
As a result, visitor spending was down 52.2 percent in March 2020, year-over-year. Visitors to Hawaii spent a total of $720.2 million, including U.S. West (-45.2% to $316.8 million), U.S. East (-43.0% to $230.5 million), Japan (-63.0% to $67.5 million), Canada (-58.9% to $56.5 million) and All Other International Markets (-76.3% to $47.5 million).
Also in March, visitor arrivals were down 53.7 percent compared to a year ago. A total of 434,856 visitors traveled to Hawaii, comprising arrivals by air service (-53.6% to 430,691) and cruise ships (-64.8% to 4,165). Total visitor days1 declined 49.7 percent versus a year ago.
Arrivals by air service decreased from Japan (-66.1%), Canada (-65.0%), All Other International Markets (-60.6%), U.S. West (-49.7%) and U.S. East (-45.9%).
A total of 943,095 trans-Pacific air seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands in March, down 20.9 percent from a year ago, due to reduction/suspension of flights from Other Asia (-64.5%), Canada (-48.9%), Oceania
(-37.3%), Japan (-26.7%), U.S. East (-14.2%) and U.S. West (-14.0%).
Substantial decreases in March entirely offset positive results in January and February, and contributed to losses in visitor spending and arrivals for the first quarter of 2020.
Visitor spending dropped 14.1 percent compared to the first quarter of 2019 to $3.89 billion, with decreases from U.S. West (-7.9% to $1.51 billion), U.S. East (-6.7% to $1.16 billion), Japan (-19.7% to $415.7 million), Canada (-20.7% to $361.5 million) and All Other International Markets (-34.8% to $434.5 million) compared to a year ago.
Total visitor arrivals in the first quarter declined 16.4 percent to 2,125,486 visitors due to fewer arrivals by air (-16.3% to 2,095,695) and cruise ships (-24.8% to 29,792) versus a year ago. Total visitor days dropped 15.1 percent.
Visitor arrivals by air service in the first quarter decreased from U.S. West (-11.8% to 908,883), U.S. East (-11.1% to 514,309), Japan (-21.5% to 294,228), Canada (-25.7% to 155,735) and All Other International Markets (-27.9% to 222,540).
U.S. West: In March, half as many visitors arrived from the Pacific region (-52.5%) compared to a year ago, while arrivals from the Mountain region were down 40.4 percent. In the first quarter of 2020, visitor arrivals decreased from both the Pacific (-12.8%) and Mountain (-8.4%) regions compared to the same period last year.
In the first quarter of 2020, visitors spent an average of $185 per person, per day, up from $180 per person, per day last year. Visitors spent more for lodging, food and beverage, and shopping while transportation and entertainment and recreation expenses were similar to a year ago.
U.S. East: In March, visitor arrivals dropped considerably from every region and contributed to decreases in the first quarter of 2020 from all regions. In the first quarter of 2020, arrivals from the three largest regions, East North Central, West North Central and South Atlantic declined 18.5 percent, 9.8 percent, and 11.1 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year.
In the first quarter of 2020, average daily visitor spending rose to $218 per person (+3.4%). Lodging and transportation expenses increased, while spending on food and beverage, shopping, and entertainment and recreation was about the same.
Japan: In March, arrivals from Japan declined to 45,332 visitors (-66.1%), a third of what it was a year ago.
For the first quarter of 2020, per person, per day visitor spending was up (+1.5% to $240) compared to a year ago. Lodging, food and beverage, transportation, and entertainment and recreation expenses increased, while spending on shopping declined.
Canada: In March, arrivals from Canada were down 65 percent to 26,426 visitors.
For the first quarter of 2020, per person, per day visitor spending rose to $176 (+3.1%). Lodging, food and beverage, transportation, shopping, and entertainment and recreation expenses increased compared to a year ago.
 Aggregate number of days stayed by all visitors.