By Léo Azambuja
Despite global environments — strengthening of the dollar, volatile financial markets, China’s economic crisis, El Nino on agriculture, the Syrian refugee crisis and terror attacks — not being ideal for the visitor industry, tourism increased on Kaua‘i in 2015.
The latest report from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, dated Nov. 30, reveals in the first 10 months of 2015, visitor arrivals on Kaua‘i increased 4.9 percent compared to the first 10 months of 2014.
In the first 10 months of last year, 979,574 visitors arrived on Kaua‘i, compared to 934,073 visitor arrivals in the same period in 2014, according to HTA.
Also during the first 10 months of 2015, visitors spent $1.3 billion on Kaua‘i, an increase of 15 percent compared to the same period in 2014. This was due to higher daily visitor expenditures.
In October 2015 alone (the latest data from HTA), there was an increase of 7.9 percent in visitor arrivals on Kaua‘i compared to October 2014. In October 2015, visitors spent $125.5 million, a 16.1 percent increase compared to October 2014.
Still in October 2015, 92,099 visitors arrived on Kaua‘i, staying an average of 7.35 days on the island and spending an average of $185.30 per day. In October 2014, visitor arrivals were at 85,321, their average stay was 7.45 days and their daily average spending was $169.90.
Last October, 73 percent of Japanese visitors to Kaua‘i were “day trippers,” according to HTA. The good news is there was a considerable increase (58.3 percent to 2,115) in Japanese visitors to Kaua‘i last October compared to October 2014.
The Annual Hawai‘i Forecast released in December by the University of Hawai‘i Economic Research Organization is predicting a smaller growth statewide in visitor arrivals this year, from 4.2 percent in 2015 to a 1.5 percent in 2016.
In 2017, increase in visitor arrivals will slow down to 0.9 percent before picking up to 1.1 percent in 2018, according to UHERO.