Despite Growth, Hawaii Seeing Fewer Visitors This Fall

Although arrivals from the U.S. West and Japan are on the rise, Hawaii continues to see declining visitor numbers, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) reported last month upon releasing its preliminary October visitor statistics.

According to the data, visitors from the U.S. West—Hawaii's top market—rose 2.5 percent in October, which was the sixth consecutive monthly increase. Arrivals from Japan, meanwhile, increased by 2.6 percent. However, arrivals from the U.S. East fell 2.9 percent and other markets by 9 percent, translating into an overall monthly drop of 1.7 percent.

For the year through October, tourism for the state is down 5.5 percent to 5.4 million, compared with the same period in 2008.

In total, Hawaii welcomed 505,676 visitors in October. According to HTA, those visitors stayed an average of 8.95 days—down from 9.10 days last year—and spent an average of $6 less per day than they did in 2008.

Still, local tourism officials remain optimistic. "In comparison to competitive destinations, Hawaii is achieving strong results," HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney said in a statement, referring to hotel data ranking Hawaii behind only New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., in terms of hotel occupancy, and behind only New York among cities with the highest average daily room rates. "This is an indicator that Hawaii continues to be a desirable destination and puts Hawaii in a favorable position for when the economy recovers."