Q2 tourism downturn reflects loss of air seats, cruise berths

Strong visitor arrivals to Hawaii for Q1 painted a rosy picture for growth, but a loss of air capacity after the bankruptcies of Aloha Airlines and ATA, combined with the departure in May of the second of two domestic cruise ships from the state, held arrivals down as spring turned to summer.

State economists said a substantial decrease in the U.S. West market and the U.S. East market was the main reason for decreased total visitor arrivals.

From Q2 2007 to Q2 2008, arrivals from the U.S. West decreased 15.4%, the largest decrease since Q3 1992 for this market. Arrivals from the U.S. East decreased 11.5%, for that market's fourth consecutive quarterly decline.

Visitor expenditures decreased substantially; and the hotel occupancy rate also decreased compared with the same quarter last year. The statewide hotel occupancy rate averaged 69%, down 3 percentage points from the same quarter of 2007.

The total number of visitors arriving by air decreased 10.1% in Q2 compared with the same quarter of 2007. Following a 0.3% increase in Q1, visitor arrivals were down 5% for the first half of the year compared with the same period last year.

Arrivals on domestic flights decreased 12.8% in Q2 from Q2 2007 and declined 5.9% for the first half of the year. Arrivals on international flights decreased 1.2% in Q2 compared with Q2 2007.

Similarly, arrivals from Japan decreased 7.7%, continuing this market's three-year slump. Only one period, Q3 2007, showed a quarter-over-quarter increase in the Japanese market since Q3 2005.

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