Kaua‘i visitor numbers, spending down

Total visitor arrivals to Kaua‘i were down 23.5 percent this June compared to last for a total of 95,333, according to preliminary statistics released Tuesday by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Adding insult to injury, June 2008 visitor spending on Kaua‘i was down 9.8 percent and visitor days were down 12.3 percent. Total expenditures also declined in June 2008 to $101.9 million, a drop of 20.8 percent over the same month last year.

The year-to-date picture is not much better. This year through June Kaua‘i has seen declines in arrivals (-13.7 percent), visitor days (-4.8 percent) and expenditures (-10.4 percent). Visitor spending per person per day, however, has increased this year to date by 1.7 percent over last year.

In contrast to the other islands, Japanese arrivals to Kaua‘i increased 6.6 percent compared to the same month last year. The average length of stay of those who came during the month was 5.52 days, compared to 5.67 days last June. The proportion of first-time travelers increased 4 percent.

For the first half of 2008, arrivals from Canada declined on Kaua‘i 17.1 percent. Year-to-date, Japanese arrivals were down on Kaua‘i 22.5 percent.

And for the first six months of 2008, visitor arrivals were lower for all U.S. Mainland regions compared to the same time last year.

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism data painted a similarly weak picture for the state in June.

“June’s visitor statistics reflect the loss of two Norwegian Cruise Line ships, increased fuel costs and a continued soft travel market especially from the U.S. Mainland,” state Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert said.

Total expenditures by visitors who arrived by air declined 3.4 percent to $5.9 billion for the first half of 2008

For the month of June 2008, total air visitor expenditures decreased 13.5 percent or $153.2 million, from the same month last year, to $982.4 million. The decline was due to a 13.6 percent drop in visitor arrivals by air (580,862) and slightly lower daily spending (down 2.1 percent to $177 per person).

Total visitor days for air and cruise visitors in June 2008 were off 12.2 percent compared to the same month last year. Total arrivals by air and cruise visitors decreased 14.2 percent from June 2007. The average length of stay by these visitors was 9.58 days, compared to 9.36 days a year ago.

Among the top four visitor markets, air arrivals from Canada rose 18.6 percent compared to June 2007. Visitations from the U.S. West (-16.5 percent), U.S. East (-17 percent) and Japan (-10 percent) were down from the same month last year.

For the first half of 2008, total visitor days for air and cruise visitors decreased 4.2 percent. Total arrivals by air and cruise declined 5.2 percent from the same period last year to 3,551,035 visitors.

Year-to-date, arrivals by air totaled 3,499,442 visitors (-5 percent). The average daily spending was higher at $181 per person compared to $179 per person in the first half of 2007.

“Even with all of the challenges we face in the tourism, I believe there are many opportunities to stimulate our base market, the U.S., while continuing to grow the Asia, Canada and Australia markets,” Wienert said.

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