HONOLULU -- The number of visitors to Hawaii from the mainland was
up 6% in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period
last year, according to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic
Development and Tourism.
"The dramatic surge in visitors firmly sets us on the path to a
record year," said Seiji Naya, director of the DBEDT.
Last year the state received 6.8 million total visitors with
approximately 4 million from the mainland.
David Preece, vice president North America with the Hawaii
Visitors & Convention Bureau, said mainland tour operators are
predicting a big year for travel to Hawaii.
"We anticipate we will get growth patterns throughout the rest
of the year that are similar to the first quarter numbers, and
that's based on advance bookings with the wholesalers," said
The only hitch in that scenario is tied to the U.S. economy.
"In the last year, I think people have gotten used to the wild
swings in the stock market, and the only problem we might face is a
long-term recession, but I don't see that happening," said
In the first quarter of this year, 1.4 million Americans visited
Hawaii compared to 1.3 million in the same period last year.
Airlines have added new flights to Hawaii from the continental
U.S., increasing the number of scheduled seats by 7.1% during the
first quarter compared to the same period last year.
Aloha, TWA, United and Hawaiian all have added flights this
The West Coast has traditionally been Hawaii's big market, but
the number of visitors arriving from the East Coast is growing. For
the first quarter of 2000 the number of visitors to Hawaii from the
East Coast grew 5.7% to 624,820, compared to the first quarter of
last year when 590,953 East Coast visitors made the trip.
Oahu continues to carry the state's increase in the number of
visitors from the mainland. The number of visitors coming from the
continental U.S. to Oahu jumped 8.5% during the first quarter of
the year, compared to last year.
Other islands saw decreases in the number of visitors during the
first quarter when compared to last year. The number of visitors
from the mainland going to Kauai fell 4.7%; Maui 1.9%; Molokai
7.5%; Lanai 8.9%, and the Big Island 2.2%.