Domestic arrivals, spending mixed in March

By Shane Nelson
The Aloha State welcomed fewer travelers from the U.S. mainland in March, but the news wasn’t all bad, as spending from the destination’s second-largest source market increased year over year.

Visitors flying to the Islands from states west of the Rockies, Hawaii’s largest source market, dropped more than 9% in March, and spending by those travelers sunk 14%, to $378.9 million, according to preliminary estimates released April 28 by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA).

HTA officials noted in a statement that “a change in the Easter/spring break holiday to April in 2014 from March in 2013 caused some shift in arrivals and contributed to this decline.”

March arrivals from the U.S. East were essentially unchanged from the same month last year, but total expenditures climbed 7.5%, to more than $314 million.

Hawaii enjoyed a 2% increase in Japanese visitors, while spending from the destination’s largest international market slipped less than a percentage point, to $204 million.

Through the first quarter of 2014, total arrivals to Hawaii slid 3.2%, to just over 2 million people, while spending dropped 3.1% year over year, to $3.8 billion.

“Following two record-breaking years in visitor spending and arrivals, we anticipated a slowdown in growth this year,” Mike McCartney, the HTA president and CEO, said in a statement. “While the outlook for the summer remains strong, we expect the fall shoulder period to be challenging, with increased competition, a strengthening U.S. dollar and increased taxes.”
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