A concerning trend in Hawaii tourism continues, as the state saw a 4.2% increase in visitors from January through June but a 2% drop in spending, compared to the same period in 2018.

Put another way, there are more people crowding our shores but they are providing less money to maintain infrastructure.

Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority Tuesday, spent a total of $8.88 billion in the first half of 2019.

Folks from the U.S. West actually spent more that they did last year, but that was offset by declines in spending from tourists from the U.S. East, Japan, Canada and all other international markets.

Tourists pose for picture at the entrance to Diamond Head State Monument on July 24, 2014
Tourists pose for pictures at the entrance to Diamond Head State Monument, July 2014. PF Bentley/Civil Beat

“The decline was largely due to decreases in lodging and transportation expenses,” the HTA said.

Total visitor arrivals through June totaled nearly 5.2 million, suggesting that Hawaii is on track to surpass 10 million visitors by the end of the year.

Hawaii Island and Kauai both saw dips in spending and arrivals, likely due to the end of lava action on the Big Island and curbs on North Shore activities on the Garden Island related to lingering damage from last year’s April flooding.

But Oahu saw a rise in both indicators, notably a 4.6% increase in visitors to just over 3 million. No wonder it feels kinda crowded on the Gathering Place.

Read Civil Beat’s ongoing series “Tourism’s Tipping Point.”

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