HONOLULU -- The number of mainland U.S. visitors who took vacations
to Hawaii in 1999 rose sharply compared with 1998.
Mainland visitors numbered 3.7 million in 1999, a 6.4% increase
over 1998 figures, according to the state's Department of Business,
Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT).
The growth in visitors from the U.S. mainland was from such
areas as Chicago, Texas and the East Coast states. Overall visitor
numbers to Hawaii rose 1.6% in 1999, to 6.8 million.
The overall increase of a little more than 110,000 visitors came
despite a large drop in the number of visitors from Asia. Visitor
numbers from Asia, including the once red-hot Japanese market, were
down 5.9% for the year, to 2.3 million.
Total visitors coming from Western nations, including the U.S.,
rose by 6.1%, to 4.5 million.
By island, Kauai had the largest percentage increase in
visitors, 4.9%, to a little more than 1 million, followed by Oahu
with a 0.3% increase, to 4.73 million. Visitors to Maui decreased
by 1.8%, to 2.26 million; Molokai was down 6.2%, to 68,410. Lanai
was down 3.9%, to 90,720, and the Big Island was down 0.8%, to 1.25
Westbound visitors tended to stay longer on vacation in Hawaii,
about 10 days on average, compared with almost six days on average
for eastbound visitors.
"Additionally, the number of first-time visitors increased to
account for 41.6% of total visitors," said Seiji Naya, DBEDT
director. Naya said the number of visitors coming for conventions
rose 12% in 1999 compared with 1998.
In 1998, airlines carrying westbound passengers added capacity
on the order of 237,135 additional seats, the DBEDT said. In 1999
visitors paid on average $131 per night for a hotel room, which was
up just a couple of dollars from an average of $129 per night in
In the lodging sector, bed-and-breakfast establishments had
10.6% fewer customers, and the number of condominium customers was