Latest data from the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism indicates that not only are Japanese visitors coming back to Kaua’i and spending freely while here, but they are also staying longer than U.S. visitors from east of the Rockies.
The sour Japanese economy has kept the free-spending Japanese visitor at home, a malady amplified by the events on and after Sept. 11, 2001.
October figures show 7,694 Japanese visitors came to Kaua’i, an increase of 72.3 percent compared to October of last year. And they stayed just over five days on Kaua’i, compared to an average length of stay of just less than five days for Kaua’i visitors from the U.S. East major marketing area.
Of the 85,476 total Kaua’i visitors in October, 30,280 were from the U.S. East, staying on average nearly 11 days total in the islands. Nearly 6,000 chose Kaua’i as their only island destination.
“Another positive note is the strong growth in Japanese honeymooners, which has risen 43.5 percent so far this year,” said Dr. Seiji Naya, DBEDT director.
Japanese visitors according to September data remain the most important visitors in terms of per-person spending, leaving behind over $288 per person per day while in the islands. Other international visitors also spent more than domestic visitors, with U.S. East and U.S. West visitors each spending around $145 per day.
In October, 513,061 visitors came to Hawai’i, up 31.7 percent compared to the same month last year. For the first 10 months this year, 5,307,782 visitors came to Hawai’i, off 2.2 percent from the same period in 2001.
Domestic arrival figures statewide are up for both the month and first 10 months compared to figures from the same periods last year.
“This is a respectable performance when measured against historical trends, and affirms the continued strength of the domestic segment of our visitor industry,” Naya said.
“We are encouraged that the year-to-date deficit in international arrivals has been reduced to 10.3 percent compared to losses in the high twenties and thirties experienced several months ago,” he said.
In October, the 85,476 Kaua’i visitors represented an increase of 13.6 percent compared to October of last year. Nearly 32 percent of all Kaua’i visitors, or 27,202, chose Kaua’i alone as their Hawaiian destination.
For the first 10 months this year, Kaua’i greeted 844,037 visitors, off 3 percent compared to 869,791 recorded over the same period last year. Kaua’i-only visitors numbered 304,486 for the first 10 months this year, up 1 percent compared to 301,513 over the same period of 2001.
It will take two months of averaging around 78,000 visitors a month for the island to break the one-million-visitor mark for the sixth straight year, something that barring war should be achievable.
All told, the average visitor stayed over nine days in Hawai’i for both October of this year and last, and the first 10 months of this year and last.
Kaua’i domestic arrivals were up for both the month and first 10 months in both the Kaua’i and Kaua’i-only visitor categories, and the average length of stay for domestic visitors was over 10 days for both this October and 2002’s first 10 months.
U.S. West visitors to Kaua’i were up for both the month and first 10 months in all categories, with the average U.S. West visitor staying just under 10 days in Hawai’i.
Japanese visitors to Kaua’i are still off substantially for the first 10 months this year, compared to the first 10 months of 2001, in both the Kaua’i and Kaua’i-only categories.
Canadian visitors to Kaua’i, whose numbers are up from both October and the first 10 months of this year compared to the same periods last year, also stay the longest of any visitor, around 12.5 days in October this year, and nearly 12.6 days for the first 10 months this year.