In worrying sign, visitor spending drops for second straight month

In worrying sign, visitor spending drops for second straight month
Visitor arrivals and spending increased for most of the Hawaiian Islands in September. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Is Hawaii’s no. 1 economic driver softening?

That’s the worry among many in the tourism industry after a second disappointing month of visitor spending.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said Thursday that visitor spending dropped 2.7 percent in February compared the same month last year.

In all, visitors dished out $1.39 billion in the islands.

The decline is coupled with a drop in visitor spending in January. In the first two months of the year, visitor spending declined 2.4 percent ― to $3 billion ― compared to the same period in 2018.

Particularly troubling about the visitor spending drops: The number of visitors hasn’t budged much.

[Read more: ‘Fasten your seatbelts’: Hawaii economists warn of rocky road ahead]

In fact, over the first two months of the year, visitor arrivals increased 1.8 percent compared to the same period in 2018. So while more visitors are coming, they’re spending less.

The new figures on visitor spending and arrivals comes after a report earlier this week showed that February was the worst month for Hawaii hotel occupancy in about a decade.

Hawaii economists have worried publicly for months that the tourism industry could be headed for a slowdown. Coupled with “poorer footing” in other industries, the declines could spell real trouble.

To see all the February statistics on visitor arrivals and spending, click here.

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