Canadian visitors continue to increase in isles
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Canadian visitors continued to bolster isle tourism in January, with the state's fourth-largest market growing by 27.7 percent from a year ago. That helped push visitor spending to its biggest increase in 19 months.
Air visitors from the western and eastern United States increased 3.9 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, from last year, while Japanese tourism declined for the fifth straight month, with 5.2 percent fewer visitors. Arrivals from all other geographic areas grew 13.3 percent, according to preliminary figures released yesterday by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
Visitors also opted to stay longer, with visitor days for air and ship visitors combined increasing by 7.5 percent.
The number of visitors arriving in Hawaii by air in January with the percentage change from the same month last year:
Source: Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism
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A continued influx of Canadian visitors last month helped push Hawaii's sagging visitor arrivals into growth territory for the first time in five months. Overall visitor spending growth also jumped to a 19-month high on longer stays on the islands.
The number of air visitors who came to Hawaii in January increased 4 percent to 584,394, from last year, according to preliminary figures released yesterday by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
The number of Canadian visitors jumped 27.7 percent from a year ago -- the biggest increase since arrivals jumped 35 percent in June 2006 -- marking the sixth consecutive month of gains in that market.
Overall expenditures from air visitors rose 8.3 percent from $84.1 million to $1.1 billion, the largest increase since June 2006, when spending rose 8.7 percent to a then-record $1.1 billion. Average daily spending edged up $1 to $178 a person. Spending by visitors who arrived by cruise ships was not available.
"What actually helped with the total visitor expenditure was the increase in the average length of stay," said State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert. "Also a slight increase in visitor spending resulted in a higher total expenditure."
Canadian visitors, the state's fourth-largest market, accounted for 9.2 percent of total air traffic, holding steady from December. Canadian arrivals have risen on an annual basis every year since 2002, buoyed by the rising value of Canadian currency since it hit an all-time low against the U.S. dollar that year. The Canadian dollar is now worth 97 U.S. cents. Expenditures in that market rose 47.3 percent in January.
"They are not as reluctant -- they are spending a lot more while they are here," Wienert said. "Per person per day expenditures went up almost 9 percent."
Among the other major visitor markets, air visitors from the western and eastern United States increased 3.9 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, from last year, with expenditures rising 2.8 and 9.1 percent. Japanese air visitor arrivals decreased 5.2 percent, as expenditures dropped 3.5 percent, marking the fifth-straight month of declines in that market. Arrivals from all other geographic areas grew 13.3 percent.
"The cost of airfare has increased, and that is due to the higher fuel costs," Wienert said. "We also have some decreased air seats coming from Japan -- there was a 10.7 percent decrease coming from Japan in January."
Air visitor spending was strongest on Oahu, which rose 11.3 percent to $490.7 million; followed by Maui, up 0.7 percent to $302.1 million; the Big Island, up 22.8 percent to $185.2 million; and Kauai, down 3.2 percent at $106.3 million. Expenditures and visitor arrivals to Molokai both increased by 19.3 percent for the month, with that island seeing the largest gain in visitor traffic.
Visitors who came by cruise ship rose 8.3 percent to 12,732. January is the last month of data including all three Hawaii-ported cruise ships. NCL America sent Pride of Hawaii to Europe earlier this month and said it would withdraw Pride of Aloha from the Hawaii market for Asia in May.
There were nine cruise ship arrivals in the month compared to eight a year earlier.
Total visitor days for cruise tourists in January decreased 9.6 percent compared to a year earlier, while air visitor days rose 7.3 percent. Japan was the only top market to post a decline in the month, with visitor days decreasing by 1.8 percent; Canadian visitor days jumped 34 percent; U.S. West visitors increased by 6.6 percent; and U.S. East rose 2.6 percent.