US (HAWAII). Total visitor arrivals to Hawaii in August were flat compared with the same month last year.

Some 608,420 visitors arrived on the islands, with growth in visitors from US West (+7%) offsetting decreased arrivals from US East (-2.6%), Japan (-8.4%) and Canada (-4.7%), according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

However, total visitor expenditure for August 2009 declined due to lower average daily spending by these visitors (US$153 per person), down from US$176 per person in August 2008).

Japanese visitor numbers for the first eight months declined by -10.4% year-on-year to 714,299. The August result continues a sharp turnaround from the disastrous June figures when fears about the H1N1 flu virus prompted a -32.8% slump – the biggest monthly decrease since May 2003’s -36.6%.

“Growth in arrivals from the US West helped offset decreased arrivals from all other geographic areas,” said State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert. “When your base business – specifically conventions, meetings and incentives -declines -37.4% compared to the previous year it is very difficult to make up the loss with leisure travellers.

“Decreased visitor spending, a by-product of aggressive pricing, is affecting all sectors of our industry and the overall economy.”

Source: Hawaii Tourism Authority

“After 17 months of declining arrivals, we are pleased to see that visitor arrivals overall have held steady for the past two months and that arrivals from our main market, US West, have shown an increase for four consecutive months,” said Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO Mike McCartney.

“Because of the groundwork that we’ve been laying through our marketing programmes during the past year, we are poised to take advantage of the economic recovery that some of our key international markets are experiencing, notably the Korea market where we’ve seen a +21% increase in arrivals over 2008.”

For the first eight months of 2009, total arrivals by air and cruise fell -7.1% from the same period last year to 4,446,160 visitors.


H1N1 fears spur slump in Japanese visitors to Hawaii; biggest monthly fall since 2003 – 29/07/09

H1N1 flu virus and financial crisis spur -15.5% fall in Japanese visitors to Hawaii in May – 30/06/09

Japanese visitors to Hawaii rise strongly in April – the largest increase since March 2005 – 29/05/09

Boost for travel retail as Japanese visitor numbers to Hawaii rise for the first time in ten months – 01/05/09

February sees easing of Japanese visitor decline to Hawaii as shopping spend shows welcome increase – 01/04/09