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Hawaii Visitor Spending Increased 10.1 Percent to $4.82 Billion in First Quarter 2018

Posted on Apr 26, 2018 in Latest Department News
For Immediate Release: April 26, 2018


Statement by George D. Szigeti, President and CEO, Hawaii Tourism Authority


RE: Hawaii’s Visitor Statistics Results for First Quarter and March 2018


HONOLULU – George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), issued the following statement regarding Hawaii’s visitor statistics results for the first quarter and March 2018.


“The first quarter results reflect the strong pace that Hawaii’s tourism industry has been able to maintain through each of the first three months. Hawaii continued to do well in the major categories that indicate how tourism is strengthening the state’s economy, visitor spending, generated state tax revenue, visitor arrivals, and air seat capacity.


“The $4.82 billion in visitor spending statewide is 10.1 percent ahead of last year’s record-setting pace through the first quarter and has also generated $563 million in tax revenue for the state, an increase of nearly $52 million. All four island counties saw the benefits of increased visitor spending in the first quarter, with the results for March being particularly outstanding, especially on the neighbor islands. This is money that is being circulated throughout the economy in activities, restaurants, retail shops, grocery stores and service providers. Ultimately, this is strengthening jobs for families statewide.


“We are truly fortunate that there continues to be such strong travel demand for the Hawaiian Islands from around the world and that airlines are responding accordingly. Air seat capacity to Hawaii was up 10.5 percent in the first quarter and 11.6 percent in the month of March. That rate of growth is phenomenal and is not only providing visitors with more travel options to vacation in Hawaii but also giving our residents more choices when making trips to either side of the Pacific.


“Mahalo to all of Hawaii’s travel industry partners on all islands for contributing to the success of the first quarter. We have the greatest, most welcoming tradition of hospitality in the world and it all stems from the goodwill of the aloha spirit and the warmth that we share with one another and with the visitors who come here to experience how we live and celebrate life.”


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Media Contacts:

Charlene Chan

Director of Communications

Hawaii Tourism Authority

808-973-2272 (o)

808-781-7733 (m)

[email protected]


Patrick Dugan

Senior Vice President

Anthology Marketing Group

808-539-3411 (o)

808-741-2712 (m)

[email protected]



For Immediate Release: April 26, 2018

HTA Release (18-24)


Hawaii Visitor Spending Increased 10.1 Percent to $4.82 Billion

in First Quarter 2018


HONOLULU – Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands spent a total of $4.82 billion in the first quarter of 2018, an increase of 10.1 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).


Hawaii’s four largest visitor markets, U.S. West (+8.8% to $1.67 billion), U.S. East (+12.8% to $1.28 billion), Japan (+9.3% to $615.6 million) and Canada (+7.6% to $468.2 million) all reported gains in visitor spending in the first quarter versus a year ago. In addition, combined visitor spending from All Other International Markets increased (+11.1% to $777 million).


Total visitor arrivals in the first quarter grew 9.4 percent to 2,478,604 visitors compared to last year supported by growth in arrivals via air service (+9.7% to 2,438,647), which offset fewer arrivals by cruise ships (-2.5% to 39,957). Visitor arrivals by air service increased from U.S. West (+13.4% to 962,462), U.S. East (+9.6% to 567,495) and Canada (+6.3% to 207,686), while arrivals from Japan was flat (-0.3% to 382,665). Combined visitor arrivals from All Other International Markets also increased (+14.3% to 318,338).


All four larger Hawaiian Islands realized growth in visitor spending and arrivals in the first quarter compared to a year ago.


March 2018 Visitor Results


In March 2018, total visitor spending rose 13.5 percent to $1.61 billion compared to March 2017. Visitor spending increased from U.S. West (+12.4% to $586 million), U.S. East (+22.1% to $419.9 million), Japan (+18% to $220.8 million), Canada (+7.2% to $148.2 million) and from All Other International Markets (+2.7% to $232 million).


Statewide average daily spending rose to $207 per person (+2.9%) in March year-over-year. Visitors spent more on a daily basis from Japan (+18.8% to $271 per person), U.S. East (+8.4% to $213 per person), Canada (+4% to $166 per person) and U.S. West (+0.7% to $187 per person). However, average daily spending by visitors from All Other International markets declined (-12.7% to $248 per person) in March versus last year.


Total visitor arrivals grew 12.5 percent to 903,550 visitors in March, with more visitors coming by both air service (+12.3%) and cruise ships (+30.1%). Total visitor days1 grew 10.3 percent in March. The average daily census2, or number of visitors on any given day in March, was 251,711, up 10.3 percent compared to March of last year.


More visitors arrived via air service in March from U.S. West (+13.8% to 364,290), U.S. East (+15% to 213,087), Japan (+1.8% to 139,250), Canada (+7.5% to 74,660) and All Other International Markets (+22.4% to 99,070) versus a year ago.


All four larger Hawaiian Islands recorded year-over-year growth in visitor spending and visitor arrivals in March.


A total of 1,173,108 trans-Pacific air seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands in March, up 11.6 percent from last year. Growth in air seat capacity was realized from U.S. East (+18.5%), U.S. West (+15.2%), Oceania (+7.9%), Other Asia (+4.3%) and Japan (+0.6%).


Other Highlights


U.S. West: In the first quarter, visitor arrivals increased from both the Pacific (+13.8%) and Mountain (+13.2%) regions year-over-year. Visitor stays rose in rental homes (+25.1%) and bed and breakfast properties (+23.2%). Visitors spent $188 per person in the first quarter, down from $192 per person compared to last year. Visitors spent more for transportation, less for lodging, and about the same for shopping, entertainment and recreation, and food and beverage.


In March, growth in arrivals from the Pacific region (+14.6%) was led by more visitors from California (+18.5%), particularly from the Los Angeles (+28.7%), San Francisco (+14%), San Diego (+13.5%) and Sacramento (+37.2%) markets. A shift in the Easter holiday schedule to March of this year versus April of last year contributed to some of the growth in visitors from California. The increase in arrivals from the Mountain region (+12.1%) included more visitors from Utah (+14.8%), Arizona (+10.2%) and Colorado (+9.2%).


U.S. East: In the first quarter, visitor arrivals increased from all regions, highlighted by growth from the two largest regions, South Atlantic (+14.6%) and East North Central (+11.6%), versus a year ago. Visitor stays increased in rental homes (+25.6%). Average daily spending rose to $218 per person (+5.9%). Spending was higher for lodging, transportation and entertainment and recreation, while expenses on shopping and food and beverage were about the same.


In March, visitor arrivals increased from most regions except for a slight drop from the East South Central region (-0.5%).


Japan: Fewer visitors stayed in hotels (-1.7%) in the first quarter, while more visitors stayed in timeshares (+18.5%) and condominiums (+10.7%) compared to a year ago. Fewer visitors purchased group tours (-8.3%) and package trips (-9.5%), while more visitors made their own travel arrangements (+19.4%).


Average daily spending rose to $271 per person (+9%) in the first quarter year-over-year. Lodging and transportation expenses increased while spending on shopping and food and beverage declined. Entertainment and recreation expenses were similar to a year ago.


Canada: More visitors stayed in rental homes (+20.8%) in the first quarter versus last year. Average daily spending by visitors increased to $175 per person (+4.2%). Lodging, transportation and shopping expenses were higher, while spending on food and beverage, and entertainment and recreation were similar.


MCI: Total visitor arrivals who came to Hawaii for meetings, conventions and incentives (MCI) events in the first quarter decreased (-1.9% to 146,588) compared to a year ago. In March, total MCI visitor arrivals rose (+1.1% to 41,323) as more visitors traveled on incentive trips but fewer came to attend conventions (-1.4%) and corporate meetings (-10.5%) compared to last March. MCI visitors from Japan increased (+19.2% to 6,662), boosted by the Amway Japan event held at the Hawaii Convention Center, which attracted more than 4,000 visiting delegates.


Honeymoon: In the first quarter, the total number of honeymoon visitors declined (-5.1% to 109,316) versus a year ago. Honeymoon visitors in March decreased (-6.1% to 37,708) compared to March of last year, mainly due to fewer visitors coming from Japan (-15.6% to 13,476) and U.S. West (-11.5% to 6,090).


Get Married: In the first quarter, 21,007 visitors came to Hawaii to get married, a decline of 3 percent from last year. In March, the number of visitors getting married in Hawaii increased (+9.5% in 7,980), boosted by growth in arrivals from Japan (+17.9%).


[1] Aggregate number of days stayed by all visitors.

[2] Average daily census is the average number of visitors present on a single day.


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