Aug. 16--There's still plenty of momentum in Hawaii's visitor industry, just not as much as Hawaii Tourism Authority officials originally thought.
HTA, which manages the state government's tourism budget and sets tourism policy, had always expected 2014 would be weaker than the so-far record-setting 2013, and on Thursday the HTA downgraded its expectations further after hearing that the Japanese market this year is not performing as strongly as was once anticipated.
HTA now says 8.753 million visitors is a more appropriate 2014 goal. The new arrivals target is slightly lower than the original 2014 target of 8.754 million; however, it represents a 3.2 percent increase over the 2013 arrivals goal. The board also set a goal of increasing visitor spending in 2014 to $16.1 billion. While the new spending goal is about 3.1 percent lower than the previous 2014 expectation of $16.6 billion, it represents a 5.1 percent increase over the 2013 spending goal.
The board's goal for per-person-per-day spending in 2014 is $202.57, which is 2.6 percent higher than its 2013 goal. In keeping with current trends, the board also reduced length of stay, the measure of how long a visitor stays in Hawaii, to 9.08 days, which is 0.7 percent lower its their goal for this year.
High prices lead some visitors to shorten their stays, said David Uchiyama, HTA vice president for brand management.
Uchiyama said next year's target revisions are based on the fact that Japan goals were aggressive so that the market would stay on track to meet a pledge to return Hawaii's largest international market to 2 million arrivals by 2016 that was outlined in a memorandum of understanding between the HTA and the Japan Association of Travel Agents.
"The pace for Japan was magnified more because we were trying to stay on track for the MOU," Uchiyama said.