Visitor arrivals, expenditures continue to grow in August

Maui logged growth in arrivals and visitor expenditures in the 2 percent range for August as the slower “fall shoulder season” arrives for the industry, the Hawaii Tourism Authority reported Thursday.

In August, 210,350 visitors came to the island, up 2.8 percent from the same month in 2012. There were more visitors from the U.S. East, up 6.1 percent to 55,373 visitors, and Japan, up 19.2 percent to 8,784.

The August growth in arrivals and a longer length of stay – 7.59 days, up 3 percent compared to last August – contributed to a 2.6 percent increase in total visitor expenditures to $294.5 million for Maui, HTA said.

There were a couple of weak categories for Maui in the report, both related to visitor spending. Per-person-per-day spending fell to $184.40, a 3.1 percent decline compared to last August, and per-person-per-trip spending fell 0.2 percent to $1,399.80.

Mike McCartney, president and chief executive officer of HTA, noted that the growth in August tourism statewide was “not as robust” as in previous months. Total arrivals, which have shown consecutive growth since September 2011, increased 2.5 percent to 748,775 visitors. However, for the first time in 20 months, statewide arrivals by air from the key U.S. West fell 1.3 percent to 301,323 visitors for the month.

Average daily visitor spending statewide was lower, down 1.7 percent to $189 per person compared to August 2012. Visitors spent a total of $1.2 billion, which was comparable to last August.

“We anticipate seeing a slowing in arrivals and expenditures as we enter the fall shoulder season,” McCartney said. “We will continue to monitor the fluctuating fuel costs, strengthening of the dollar against international currencies and other economic conditions, which have been impacting visitor length of stay.”

While the statewide visitor totals seem to be leveling off, he said that HTA has been “successful in increasing total expenditures on the Neighbor Islands,” citing Maui totals for January to August.

Maui continues to experience steady growth in arrivals to 1.6 million, up 3.9 percent compared to the same eight-month period in 2012; visitors from Japan are up 19 percent to 54,117; from the U.S. West, up 3.2 percent to 768,669; from the U.S. East, up 2.1 percent to 453,795; and from Canada, up 2.1 percent to 175,743.

For the first eight months of the year, Maui’s per-person-per-day spending increased 5.2 percent to $192.80, compared to last year, contributing to an overall increase in expenditures of 9.1 percent to $2.5 billion.

In other totals:

* Lanai experienced a 16.9 percent increase in visitor expenditures in August, compared to last August, to $8 million. Visitor arrivals were down 4.8 percent to 6,278. Per-person-per-day spending was up 17.3 percent to $371.50, and per-person-per-trip spending was up 22.8 percent to $1,269.50.

* Molokai logged a significant decline in visitor expenditures in August, down to $1.6 million, 35.7 percent lower than 2012. Visitor arrivals were down 4.1 percent to 3,872. Per-person-per-day spending was down 38.3 percent to $103.80 and per-person-per-trip spending was down 33 percent to $404.50.

* Lee Imada can be reached at