Tourism numbers down

HANAMAULU — Kauai Backcountry Adventures is booked out 45 days in advance. So when the latest Hawaii Tourism Authority report showed tourism is slowing down, they say they have not noticed.

“It’s been a perfect season weather-wise,” manager Sean Stogner said, pointing to the weather in 2018, especially the flooding in April, as something that decreased customer count last year.

Not all businesses are feeling as confident, however.

“Somewhat because of the weather and the North Shore closure, we have noticed a decrease in customers,” an employee at Snorkel Bob’s said of their client number thus far in 2019. “A little bit less people compared to last year.”

Both visitor spending and visitor arrivals were down through the first half of 2019 on Kauai, according to the HTA, which released visitor statistics on Tuesday.

Through six months, visitor spending on Kauai was a reported $961.9 million, down 5.7% compared to the same period in 2018. Visitor arrivals through June on Kauai totaled 686,236, down 1.7% compared to the first six months of 2018.

“I always tell everybody that last year was an anomaly that is not going to be matched this year,” said Sue Kanoho, executive director for the Kauai Visitors Bureau.

“Because of Pele and a lot of trips being rebooked to the Neighbor Islands because everybody was concerned about sulfur dioxide and they thought the (Big) island was on fire, so we benefited from that.”

Visitors spent $195 million in June on Kauai, down slightly from June 2018. Kauai welcomed 135,069 visitors in June, also down slightly from June 2018.

More travelers to Kauai in June came from U.S. West (+4.9%) to offset fewer visitors from Japan (-38.9%), U.S. East (-3.9%) and Canada (-2.4%).

Kanoho said the decrease in the U.S. East and Canada visitors can be related to seasonal weather, as those areas are in their summer months and people from there tend to visit during the winter.

“The U.S. West was up 4.9%. That’s our No. 1 market,” she said.

“Fewer visitors from Japan, so Japan, it runs hot and cold, and so to be down 38.9%, it’s a very small number we see.

“So when you look at the slice of pie, it is a very small number that we get.”

Statewide, visitors spent a total of $8.9 billion in the first half of 2019, a decrease of 2% compared to the same period in 2018, according to HTA.

Total visitor arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands increased 4.2 percent to 5.2 million in the first half of 2019, supported by growth in arrivals from air service (+4.0% to 5.1 million) and cruise ships (+15.9% to 76,472).


Ryan Collins, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or

  1. CommonSenseish August 1, 2019 10:20 am Reply

    Probably because many are spewing so much hate towards them. Any white person that wants to come here or move here are told to “go home” and given paragraphs of hate on Facebook. Tourists pay your bills people, even those of you lucky enough to milk the food stamp, welfare and HUD system. Should be grateful instead of hateful.

    1. Susie Christensen August 1, 2019 2:24 pm Reply

      Whoa. Aren’t you a piece of entitled work. I am very white and have never experienced any issue on Kauai the many times we have visited. But then again….it’s not my home so I treat everyone and everything with respect.

      You simply ooze contempt and privilege.

      1. CommonSenseish August 2, 2019 4:10 pm Reply

        Contempt and Privilege? Can you read? Here ya go, in “stoopid people” terms I basically said if people stopped being mean to them the numbers might increase…

        And of course you treat everyone with respect, your white and on vacation… and knowing words like privilege you probably stay on the more high end of the spectrum.

        …. tourists…. ugh.

        1. Wha? August 4, 2019 12:04 pm Reply

          Was that irony/sarcasm or hypocrisy? Hard to tell. But given the usual tone of that poster and spelling challenges, I suspect it’s the latter. Sorry Susie, guess you had your first run-in.

          1. CommonSenseish August 6, 2019 8:38 am

            Agh, Wha? Based on my usual posts this would hit the sarcasm hard.

  2. ruthann jones August 1, 2019 12:01 pm Reply

    yep! Ditto what Commonsenseich said…..the beautiful garden island has been polluted with ill will and nasty ‘locals’. Enjoy your plantation.

  3. Debra Kekaualua August 1, 2019 3:53 pm Reply

    Here commonsensish not only decries the “H” word but references the “R-card” as well! The Facts have been evidenced in such a way, that there is no returning to the Status Quo. Status quo are upper leaders who were willing to give up a legacy of truth and integrity! It is not about the stolen mailbox, its about Illegal militaroTMT militaroSuperferry, militaroMissileincoming not an oops, add every state division department entirely corrupted, not limited too, to Kauai Hawaii through to Hawaii Island judiciary, senate, house, county TOP to BOTTOM. Read Benish “The Fifth Seal”., true stories victims still await justice.

    1. CommonSenseish August 2, 2019 4:12 pm Reply

      Wow, relax killa, no one said it was OK to bring the mailbox, TMT or the Superferry into this discussion. Talk about going WAAAAYYYYYY left field.

  4. rk669 August 1, 2019 4:12 pm Reply

    Back to the day of coconuts,mangoes and vegetable gardens! Good job locals!

    1. Great idea August 4, 2019 12:06 pm Reply

      RK, that actually sounds nice!

  5. behappy August 5, 2019 2:31 am Reply

    Beaches are overcrowded. Long traffic lines. Weekends at restaurants require reservations. Too many reasons that show our island does not have enough space for the amount of people who want to come here to visit.

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