November visitor traffic weak so far

By Howard Dicus - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With November arrivals by air tallied for the first nine days of the month, the state counts 4.5% fewer arrivals, the first time the number has been down from 2008 since June.

By Wednesday the running tally of people flying to Hawaii in November could come close to 200,000, but at this point the state estimates we are shy at least 7,000 arrivals. Arrivals were up 7% in September and up 1% in October.

Arrivals include returning locals, who typically comprise about 13% of the total. Occasionally this is skewed if a lot of kama'aina take trips to Las Vegas, where tourism officials this week say visitor traffic is up 4% from last year.

The shortfall in Hawaii visitors isn't international. With the yen strong - it takes about 90 yen to buy a dollar this week, compared to as much as 115 yen during portions of the summer of 2008 - Japanese traffic is up almost 5% so far this month.

Mainland traffic is down 7.5% overall, including declines of 5% to Kauai, 8% to Honolulu, and 12% to Maui County. Domestic arrivals to Kona are actually up 8%, though this represents a slide from double-digit increases every month from March through October.