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Outlook After Another Successful Year in Tourism

Last year, we hit another milestone for tourism: $14.75 billion in visitor expenditures (+2.3%), $1.57 billion in state tax revenue (+2.3%) and 8.28 million visitors to the Hawaiian Islands (+1.3%). After exceeding 2014 targets and surpassing previous years’ records, where is Hawaii’s tourism economy headed in 2015? 

Following back-to-back landmark years, the HTA anticipates slower growth in 2015 with subtle increases in total visitor spending and arrivals. Targets for visitor spending this year is $15.1 billion (+2.8%), while visitor arrivals are projected to reach 8.4 million (+1.9%). In order to maintain a healthy tourism economy, the HTA continues to work with its global contractors and industry partners to diversify its markets by attracting visitors from regions with growth potential like Asia (+8.5%), Oceania (+5.9%) and Europe (+11.8%), which exhibited year-over-year growth in 2014. 

Distributing visitor arrivals and spending throughout the Hawaiian Islands is a key priority for the HTA. Continued efforts to market unique visitor experiences on each island and increase connectivity led to growth in spending and arrivals to the larger neighbor islands in 2014. Click here for the 2014 year-to-date visitor statistics. 

Strong airlift during the first quarter of 2015 will help to sustain visitor arrivals, especially from our core domestic market, where capacity will grow 9.2 percent to 1,795,104 air seats. Airlift from the U.S. West market is up 9.5 percent with significant growth from Denver (+49.8%), San Francisco (+16.1%), San Jose (+39.7%) and Seattle (+24%), with smaller growth from Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento and San Diego. Increased air seats from Chicago (+24%), Dallas (+13.2%) and New York JFK (+6.5%) also contributed to the 6.5 percent growth in airlift from the U.S. East market. 

International air seats on the other hand will remain same (+0.4%) through March, with substantial increases from Oceania (+21.9%) and other smaller markets (+21.3%). The loss of Hawaiian Airlines’ Fukuoka flight last June has resulted in comparably less airlift from Japan during the first quarter (-7.2%). However, additional airlift from Narita starting July will help to balance air seats from this market during the second half of the year. While airlift from Other Asia has also declined (-13.1%) with the loss of direct service from Taipei, Taiwan (-60.5%) and decreases from Seoul (-18.1%) and Shanghai (-19.7%), new nonstop service from Beijing (+167.6%) has helped to moderate the loss of air seats from this region. We continue to work with our partners to identify opportunities for us to maintain and enhance airlift to the Hawaiian Islands, including working toward establishing Kona as a second international port of entry. For ongoing air seat capacity updates, visit the HTA’s Infrastructure Research webpage here

Please join us for our 2015 Spring Marketing Update presentation on March 11 at the Hawaii Convention Center for additional updates from our global contractors. To register for the meeting or live streamed webinar, click here


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Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
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