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Visitors are spending more on their Hawaiʻi vacation but arrival numbers are still recovering

Daniel Ramirez

Visitors are spending more money on their Hawaiʻi vacation compared to pre-pandemic, but arrival numbers are still recovering.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism reports that visitors spent more than $1.5 billion in March. That’s 2.5% higher than in March 2019, a year before the pandemic began.

But there were 15% fewer visitors in March than in 2019, nearly 800,000 arrivals compared to 928,000.

Visitors from the continental U.S. continue to make up a majority of the arrivals, especially from the West Coast which made up more than half of the travelers.

But there was also a surge of Canadian visitors in March with more than 54,000 arrivals

Meanwhile, 4,000 Japanese visitors came to the islands last month which is a slight increase from February. But pre-pandemic, that number was usually above 130,000.

Click here to view this chart in a separate window.

In a release, DBEDT director Mike McCartney said he is hopeful the state will continue to see an upswing in domestic and international visitor arrivals despite inflation costs associated with the war in Ukraine.

"The demand for lodging, food and beverage, activities and retail will provide the momentum necessary for the state’s economic recovery to happen quicker than predicted," he said in a statement.

Casey Harlow was an HPR reporter and occasionally filled in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
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