Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, May 10, 2013
UHERO: Are lodging costs starting to tame the tourist boom?
By News Release @ 10:49 PM :: 5523 Views :: Economy, Tourism

Are lodging costs starting to tame the tourist boom?

by James Jones and Peter Fuleky, UHERO May 8, 2013

The latest visitor highlights from the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) show that both visitor arrivals and spending continued to increase through the first quarter of 2013, albeit at a slower rate than last year. However visitors to the state appear to be booking shorter trips and spending less at local shops, perhaps in response to higher hotel room rates.

In the first quarter of 2013 more than 2 million visitors flew to the state, 6.5% more than in the first quarter of last year. US mainland arrivals grew by an impressive 6.4%, though some of the gains may be attributable to seasonal changes. With Easter and the Spring Break falling in March this year, some of the domestic arrivals growth may be the result of Mainland travelers visiting the state in March instead of April. International arrivals also increased with arrivals from the two largest international markets, Japan and Canada, growing by 5.3% and 3.1% respectively. The fastest growing source of arrivals continues to be non-traditional markets around the Pacific. With new direct flights to the state the number of visitors from Oceania grew significantly, Australian arrivals increased by 30% while the number of visitors from New Zealand almost doubled. Visitors from China also increased by more than 40%, but despite rapid growth in the past several years, Chinese visitors still make up a relatively small share of the overall visitor mix.

While the number of visitors flying to the state increased in the first quarter, the length of the average trip fell for visitors from all markets. Visitor days, an alternative measure of visitor volume that takes into account both the number of visitors and length of stay, edged up only 2.6% as a result. Length of stay fell only slightly for US mainland and Japanese visitors but the effect was much more pronounced among other visitors.

The average Canadian visit was 6% shorter, offsetting the modest increase in arrivals; Canadian visitor days fell by 3%. Despite robust arrivals growth, an 11% fall in length of stay among other international arrivals netted out to a small loss in visitor days from these fast growing non-traditional markets.

Visitors spent more than $3.9 billion in the state during the first quarter of the year, 7.5% more than the same quarter last year. While total spending increased, the data suggest that visitors spent more on rooms but cut back on shopping. The average visitor spent 12% more on lodging and 9% less shopping each day. Japanese visitors, who tend to be the biggest shoppers, seem to have cut back the most; the average Japanese visitor spent 18% less shopping each day compared to last year. That works out to each Japanese visitor spending roughly $100 less in local shops over the course of their entire visit. In our recent labor market update we noted a surprising slowdown in retail hiring in the first quarter. This new data confirms that visitors are indeed spending less at local retailers compared to last year, which could be a factor in retail hiring decisions.

Overall the first quarter was a positive one for the local visitor industry, though there are a few signs for concern. The number of visitors to the state continues to grow but the cost of a Hawaii vacation may be starting to weigh on some travelers. With lodging supply essentially fixed in the near term, the robust arrivals growth allowed hotels to keep raising their room rates. Some visitors are reacting to the higher lodging cost by reducing their length of stay and by spending less on other items.


* this post was updated on May 10, 2013


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute


Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii


Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii


National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii


Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns


West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii