Arrivals keep rising despite decrease in Japanese
Hawaii had another record month of visitor arrivals in January
Hawaii visitor arrivals, coming off a record year in 2005, continued their upswing in January as the number of travelers increased 3.9 percent to a record for the month of 595,753 visitors.
Visitor expenditures for January hit $1 billion, rising 9.8 percent over a year ago.
In 2005, Hawaii welcomed 7.4 million visitors who spent $11.5 billion, both records for the state.
Although Japanese arrivals declined in January by 7.3 percent -- to 122,144 -- from the year-earlier period, the number of arrivals was more than offset by a 17 percent rise in Canadian tourists to 33,063 and a 6.5 percent gain in domestic arrivals to 409,951. Overall, international arrivals slipped 1.4 percent to 185,802.
Average daily spending rose to $169 per person from $160 per person a year earlier while total visitors days increased 4.5 percent.
Of the 409,951 domestic arrivals in January, the U.S. West visitors showed the biggest increase at 6.9 percent while the U.S. East visitor count rose 5.7 percent.
Leroy Laney, a professor of economics and finance at Hawaii Pacific University, called it "a very good start" following last year's 6.8 percent increase in visitors over 2004.
"In all of (the economists' forecasts), we were expecting some slowdown this year from a very good year last year," said Laney, who also serves as a consultant for First Hawaiian Bank. "If we continue along this path, I think we may see some upward revisions as we go along."
Laney said it was typical to see the strength coming from the mainland.
"I'm not surprised at the U.S. domestic part because it has been the mainstay for several years now," he said. "Japan has tended to be kind of iffy. They have proved over the years to be a rather fickle market and they're harder to predict now. They're a smaller share of our total visitors (about 20 percent) than they were in 1997 even though the last couple of years, year over year, they've been up. The level is still below what it was in the late '90s."
Oahu saw a 2 percent decrease in visitors to 364,834, but all the other islands achieved percentage gains. Lanai's visitor count increased 20.7 percent to 6,965, Molokai gained 16 percent to 7,131, Kauai rose 14.6 percent to 90,519, Maui gained 14.1 percent to 194,571 and the Big Island rose 3.3 percent to 127,455.
"The continued record increase in visitor arrivals from the domestic market has been phenomenal," said state tourism liaison Marsha Wienert. "The cruise industry growth is adding diversity of our visitor market."
There were 23,884 visitors who flew to Hawaii in January to board home-ported cruise ships, a 59.4 percent increase from a year ago, while the number of people arriving on out-of-state cruise ships jumped 86.8 percent to 13,907. Cruise visitor days soared 86.8 percent.