LIHUE — The month of May is, historically, an off-peak travel period in Hawaii.
Not this year.
Visitor spending was $1.3 billion in the Hawaiian Islands in May, up 8.7 percent statewide versus a year ago, as Hawaii continued to benefit from robust travel demand, most notably from the mainland U.S., Japan and Canada, said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO, Hawaii Tourism Authority
In addition, total visitor arrivals rose 4.5 percent to 751,191 visitors fueled by growth in arrivals by air (up 3.9 percent to 737,254) and by cruise ships (up 49 percent to 13,937).
“Hawaii is fortunate to be such a popular choice among travel consumers around the world, especially with so many other destinations competing for their attention,” Szigeti said. “Hawaii’s aloha spirit, the warmth of our people and the beauty of our islands continues to resonate with global travelers and offers an experience unmatched by any other destination.”
Kauai has enjoyed a solid first four months of the year when it comes to tourism.
Visitor spending in May on Kauai was $144 million, according to the HTA, a 14.7 percent increase from the same month last year.
Kauai saw 104,882 guests in May, a 9.8 percent increase from May 2016. Visitors continue to stay here an average of seven days.
For the year through May, visitor spending on Kauai was $781.5 million, an 18.1 percent increase from the same four months last year. Visitor arrival through May were 502,279, an increase of 7.2 percent, according to HTA.
Hawaii’s four largest visitor markets, U.S. West, U.S. East, Japan and Canada, all reported year-over-year increases in visitor spending and arrivals for the third straight month in May.
Tourism’s economic impact was spread across the state, with double-digit increases in visitor spending reported for Maui, Kauai and the island of Hawaii.
All four larger Hawaiian Islands saw growth in visitor spending and arrivals in May compared to a year ago.
Year-to-date, Hawaii’s tourism industry has generated $806.9 million in tax revenue for the state of Hawaii through May, which is $72.2 million, or 9.8 percent, ahead of last year’s record-setting pace, Szigeti said.
“This is tax revenue that is needed to help strengthen the foundation of our state in supporting programs that benefit communities and residents, both today and in years to come,” he said.
The Canada market continued to rebound, as both visitor spending (up 19.2 percent to $46.1 million) and arrivals (up 16.6 percent to 25,396) increased in May 2017 year-over-year.