Japan visits
gain 54% over
post-9/11 lows

Domestic visitor days hit a record
45.3 million for all of last year

Star-Bulletin staff

A strong rebound in travelers from Japan, boosted by participation in the Honolulu Marathon and Hawaii's ongoing attraction to Japanese honeymooners, helped boost December visitor arrivals.

Arrivals from the mainland continued their steady growth in December, according to figures announced today by the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.

Hawaii visitor count

Japanese arrivals last month were up 53.9 percent from December 2001, when they stayed home in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 disaster. The 157,048 Japanese arrivals last month, marked an increase of 54,997 people compared to 102,071 in December 2001. In the same month, U.S. arrivals were up by 18,284 or 5.4 percent.

However, there were nearly twice as many visitors from U.S. points as from Japan and they stayed twice as long as the Japanese, making them a more important part of the market. Domestic visitor days, the number of U.S. visitors times the length of their stay, hit an all-time record 45.3 million for all of 2002, with the strong December figures capping a year of recovery.

In December, there were 357,702 domestic arrivals, up 5.4 percent from 339,418 in December 2002. Their average length of stay was 11.82 days, up from 11.26 days a year earlier. The Japanese average length of stay last month was 5.59 days, a decrease from 6.26 percent in December 2001.

"Hawaii's visitor statistics have improved significantly during the last year," said Theodore E. Liu, new director of DBEDT. "The recovery of our primary domestic market, specifically the U.S. West segment, can be attributed to new direct flights and an increased length of stay," he said. "While international arrivals remain soft, it is very encouraging to see improvements in the Japanese travel market."

DBEDT estimated the marathon brought 16,000 visitors from Japan in the first week in December. The Honolulu Marathon Association believes it was more than that. "We had more than 17,000 entrants for the race," said Pat Bigold, a marathon spokesman. "There were also about 5,000 entrants for the race day walk" and the organization believes each marathon participant is accompanied by one or two non-participants.

Total visitor days in December were 5.68 million, up 14.4 percent from 4.97 million in December 2001. Domestic visitor days, 4.23 million last month, were up 10.6 percent from 3.82 million in the previous December. There were 1.46 international visitor days in December, up 27 percent from a year-earlier 1.15 million, and the Japanese part of that came to 877,310 visitor days, up 37.4 percent from 638,730 in December 2001.

There was an increase on all islands in total December visitor arrivals.

Total visitor expenditures were also higher. DBEDT, which tallies tourist spending a month later than it does tourist arrivals, said visitors spent an estimated $761.2 million in the islands in November, up 16.7 percent from $652.5 million in November 2001. That brought total visitor spending for the first 11 months of 2002 to $9.18 billion, up 2.8 percent from 8.93 billion in the 11 months of 2001.

Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism

E-mail to Business Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --