December visitor arrivals edge up
By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer
December brought a slight rise in visitor arrivals — up 2.4 percent from last December to 577,657 visitors —according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Arrivals by air grew 3.2 percent but arrivals by cruise ships dropped 31 percent compared to last December.
Increased arrivals by air contributed to a small rise in total visitor spending to $955.2 million.
That’s modestly good news for the state’s No. 1 private industry, which has felt the continuing effects of the global economic downturn.
That’s up 0.5 percent or $5 million. The average daily spending by these visitors was $163 per person, down from $167 per person in December 2008.
Overall, total visitor days edged up 1.7 percent from December 2008. The average length of stay by all visitors was 10.27 days, slightly lower than the 10.34 days in December 2008.
Among the top four visitor markets, arrivals by air from U.S. West grew 3.6 percent from December 2008. Arrivals from U.S. East (+0.7%) and Canada (+4.3%) also increased while arrivals from Japan dipped slightly (-0.6%) from last December.
For all of 2009, there were a total of 6,514,382 visitors to the Islands, down 4.5 percent from 2008. Arrivals by air for 2009 declined 4.4 percent to 6,419,138 visitors while arrivals by ship dropped 13 percent to 95,244 visitors.
Total visitor days decreased 4.3 percent in 2009. However, the average length of stay, at 9.43 days, was essentially the same as 2008.
Total spending by air visitors was $9.9 billion for 2009, a decrease of $1.3 billion or 11.7 percent from 2008. Average per person per day spending by air visitors dropped to $163 per person from $177 per person in 2008.