The seemingly unstoppable growth in visitors to Hawaii in recent years has masked a troubling trend: while visitor numbers are up, spending per visitor is down. The result: it’s taking more and more visitors — and more negative impacts — to generate the same economic benefits.

That trend continued in April, according to data released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands spent a total of $1.33 billion in April 2019, a decrease of 6.2 percent compared to the same month last year, according to preliminary data released by HTA.

At the same time that spending dipped, visitor numbers rose. Total visitor arrivals increased 6.6 percent to 856,250 visitors in April. On Oahu, spending dipped 1.2% to $626.8 million in April despite 8.7% more visitors.

The average number of visitors on any given day in April also was up 3.4 percent, to 227,768, compared with last year.

“Hawaii’s Changing Economy”  series is supported by a grant from the Hawaii Community Foundation as part of its CHANGE Framework project.

Before you go . . .

During this unique election season, we appreciate that you and others like you have relied on Civil Beat for accurate, objective coverage of the candidates and their races.

Covering the pandemic has taken a lot of our collective energy. But through it all, our small team of reporters made sure you didn’t forget about electoral politics. Because we know that elections not only test society’s participation in our democracy, but journalism’s commitment to safeguarding it.

If you’ve relied on our election coverage this season, please consider making a tax-deductible gift to support our newsroom.

About the Author