A total of 8,235,510 visitors came to the Hawaii in 2013, surpassing the 2012 record of 8,028,742 visitors by 2.6 percent, according to preliminary statistics released Thursday by the Hawai'i Tourism Authority.
Annual 2013 total visitor expenditures rose 2 percent to $14.5 billion. On average, 204,120 visitors were in the state on any given day of 2013 a 1.4 percent gain compared to 2012.
But, not all of the numbers were positive.
For the month of December 2013, total visitor expenditures declined 6.3 percent (or -$90.5 million) to $1.3 billion, due to lower daily spending (-3% to $189 per person), a 1.9 percent decrease in total arrivals (to 722,423 visitors) and a shorter average length of stay (-1.6% to 9.85 days).
"While we are pleased that we surpassed our 2012 record numbers, we fell short of our 2013 targets," said HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney. "Fluctuations in currency exchange rates, taxes and fuel surcharges have slowed bookings and hampered growth, causing a leveling off throughout the second half of 2013. The HTA anticipates this trend to continue into the first half of 2014, especially during the typically slower shoulder travel period in April and May."
McCartney says HTA will work with marketing contractors to review and adjust plans to stimulate the markets in light of current economic and global trends.
"In order to diversify our markets, we continue to pivot our focus towards Asia and other developing markets. Our efforts to support airlift, media and travel trade familiarization tours and in-market meetings and promotions have had positive results in 2013 especially from Oceania, Taiwan and China," said McCartney. "We anticipate continued growth from these areas with additional increases in airlift this year, including added service from Shanghai and new routes from Beijing."
Annual 2013 Highlights:
• Gains in total visitor expenditures and arrivals during the first half of 2013 offset weaker performances in the second half of the year. Much of the growth in arrivals was from the international markets. The U.S. West market slowed down in the second half of 2013 and the U.S. East market declined in the last quarter of the year.
• For annual 2013, arrivals from U.S. West rose slightly (+1.3% to 3,219,621) while U.S. East arrivals of 1,698,454 visitors were similar to 2012.
• Arrivals from Japan rose 3.9 percent to 1,523,302 visitors in 2013. However, the average daily census showed an increase of only 2.5 percent. Arrivals from Canada grew 2.1 percent to 509,565 visitors while the average daily census of Canadian visitors remained about the same as last year (-0.1%).
• In contrast, there was very strong growth in arrivals from the smaller visitor markets: Oceania (+29.3% to 353,065), Other Asia (+18.4% to 343,327), Europe (+9.4% to 141,408) and Latin America (+18.1% to 30,131) (see page 6). A total of 171,219 visitors came by cruise ships in 2013, an increase of 6 percent from the previous year (see page 6).
• Total visitor expenditures increased from U.S. West (+2.9% to $4.8 billion), U.S. East (+3.9% to $3.6 billion), Canada (+2.2% to $1 billion) and All Other markets (+9% to $2.6 billion), but declined from Japan (-7.6% to $2.5 billion) compared to 2012.
• Visitor expenditures on O‘ahu declined (-5.1% to $7.3 billion) despite increased arrivals (+4% to 5,100,169 visitors). Maui (+8% to $3.7 billion; +2.3% to 2,362,629 visitors), Hawai‘i Island (+14.3% to $1.9 billion; +1.2% to 1,450,247 visitors) and Kaua‘i (+12.6% to $1.5 billion; +2.7% to 1,113,523 visitors) showed growth in visitor expenditures and arrivals compared to 2012.