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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Hawai'i cruise-line visitors are up, but spending is down

By Kelly Yamanouchi
Advertiser Staff Writer

Slightly more visitors toured Hawai'i on cruise ships for the first nine months of this year than the same period last year, but the cruise passengers are spending less in the Islands than they used to.

State figures show 169,730 cruise passengers from out-of-state toured Hawai'i in the first nine months of 2003, up 2.3 percent from a year ago.

Cruise visitors also spent an average of $99.46 per person daily, down from $103.74 last year, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

"Our cruise business is doing very well in Hawai'i," said Marsha Wienert, Gov. Linda Lingle's tourism liaison, but the drop in visitor spending "is a little bit of a concern."

"It could be that they're just not spending as freely as they were last year" because of concerns about the economy, she said.

The state is set to see an increase in cruise visitors and spending next year when two more Norwegian Cruise Line ships are homeported in Hawai'i. Wienert said she hopes to see visitor spending increase as more ships base in the Islands.

Of the $99.46 average daily expenditure, about $18 was spent on lodging, $13 on food and beverage, $11 on transportation, $4 on entertainment, $17 on shopping, $26 on shore tours and the rest on other expenses. The amounts do not include money spent onboard cruise ships.

More than half of the cruise visitors were from the eastern region of the Mainland and about 58 percent were repeat visitors to Hawai'i. About 4,052 Hawai'i people also toured the Islands by cruise ship, spending about $49 per person per day.

In the first three quarters of the year, 34 ships arrived — about the same as last year. The number of cruise tours increased slightly from 90 to 92.

Passengers spent an average of 1.71 days before their cruise on shore and 1.14 days on shore after the cruise. More than 65 percent of the cruise visitors stayed in hotels before or following their cruise.

Reach Kelly Yamanouchi at 535-2470, or at kyamanouchi@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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