Visitor arrivals slip 1.2% in September
U.S. West market hurts visitor count, arrivals from Japan also fell
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Large gains from the convention, corporate meetings and honeymoon markets helped keep Hawaii's visitor market for September relatively flat despite a large shortfall in visitors from its top U.S. West market.
Hawaii tourism officials say that September's visitor numbers prove that the market is sound and expenditures still show growth. The cruise market also continues to bolster visitor numbers, they said.
But while more visitors from the U.S. East and Canada came to Hawaii in September, it wasn't enough to completely compensate for falling visitor counts from the U.S. West and Japan.
In addition, visitors spent an average of 2.8 percent less time in Hawaii this September than they did the year prior. And, the 0.5 percent rise in visitor spending failed to keep pace with inflation.
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Last year at this time, Hawaii's visitor market was still setting records for domestic arrivals. This year, it wasn't much of a September to remember for Hawaii's lead visitor industry.
Arrivals to Hawaii slid last month with declines from the U.S. West and Japan pulling down the total visitor count by 1.2 percent, according to data released yesterday from the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.
Arrivals from the U.S. mainland decreased 1.7 percent to 395,846 arrivals as 5.8 percent fewer visitors from the western states decided to visit Hawaii in September. Although arrivals from the U.S. East rose 2.5 percent, it wasn't enough to offset the decline from the larger U.S. West market.
Arrivals from Hawaii's top international market, Japan, fell by 2.7 percent to 114,252. But arrivals from Canada rose 9.5 percent to 13,166 as the Canadian currency's strength against the dollar gave snowbirds more buying power.
"Overall, our visitor industry remains sound, with continued growth in visitor expenditures," said State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert, adding that Hawaii's convention and corporate meetings market as well as the honeymoon market contributed to the growth in overall visitors in September.
The annual meeting of the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters Society brought nearly 7,200 delegates to Hawaii. Likewise, the American Society for Bone & Mineral Research 2007 Annual Meeting attracted 4,900 delegates and another corporate group event brought an additional 5,600 delegates.
September 2007 was also a popular month for honeymooners -- especially those from Japan, which had a 40.8 percent increase in the category over same period last year.
Visitors from the state's cruise ship market also brought a healthy increase to Hawaii's visitor industry in September. About 44,990 visitors toured the islands by ship last month, a 19.9 percent gain for the market.
However, visitors spent 2.8 percent less time in Hawaii than they did last September and their spending didn't keep pace with inflation. Visitors stayed an average of 8.63 days last month and spent $927.1 million, a gain of just 0.5 percent.
Overall spending would have been considerably higher had it not been for the dramatic 7.2 percent dip from Hawaii's largest visitor market, the U.S. West. Spending was up a significant 6.2 percent from Canada, 3.5 percent from the U.S. East and 2.6 percent from Japan.
The number of visitors arriving in Hawaii by air in September with the percentage change from the same month last year:
Source: Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism