Arrivals on pace for record year
Growth in domestic and foreign arrivals in September led to another record visitor count in the islands, with large increases in the number of people in Hawaii for conventions, cruises and honeymoons.
Total arrivals rose 7.1 percent last month to 558,990 from 522,080 in the same month a year earlier, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Arrivals from the U.S. mainland increased 9.1 percent to 383,805 while international arrivals lifted 2.9 percent to 175,185.
"Domestic arrivals in September set a new milestone for the month," said Marsha Wienert, the state tourism liaison.
Arrivals rose on all major islands last month, with the strongest growth on the Big Island, Kauai and Maui, where visitor counts grew 21 percent, 12 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
The number of visitors in Hawaii for a convention nearly doubled to 24,887 in September from the same month in 2004. The number of people here on a honeymoon rose 12.7 percent to 55,848, driven by a double-digit increase in Japanese honeymooners.
The count of visitors cruising the islands jumped 37.2 percent to 29,059 last month, with the bulk of those people arriving by airplane.
The state expects a record 7.4 million visitors will hit the islands this year, up from nearly 7 million in 2004. Growth is projected to taper off next year, when the islands are projected to get about 7.6 million arrivals.
Arrivals this year have grown from all the markets that send the most visitors to the state -- the U.S. mainland, Japan and Canada -- with the strongest growth coming from the islands' biggest source of visitors, the U.S. West region.
However, average daily spending by each visitor has increased only 1.1 percent this year, and daily spending by the average Japanese visitor fell 1.8 percent in the first nine months of 2005 from the same period last year.
Because of increased arrivals, total visitor spending is projected to hit $11.6 billion in Hawaii this year, up from $10.9 billion last year.