HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The number of tourists visiting the islands grew through the first half of the year compared to 2018, new Hawaii Tourism Authority figures show.
Total visitors increased about 4% ― to 5,191,523 ― as compared to the same time period last year along with an increase in arrivals from air service and cruise ships.
If visitor arrivals remain at the pace through the end of the year, Hawaii’s visitor arrivals for 2019 will top 10 million ― a record. In 2018, some 9.9 million visitors flocked to the islands.
On Oahu, arrivals increased by almost 5% to a little more than 3 million. Visitor spending also increased by about 2% to $4.05 billion.
The increase in visitor arrivals comes as lawmakers and community members are increasingly concerned about overtourism ― and overcrowding at some of Hawaii’s landmarks.
Jennifer Chun, Hawaii Tourism Authority’s director of tourism research, said the 5% increase in visitor arrivals is significant despite how small the number may sound.
She attributes the increase to additional air seats being available.
“More people are going to be coming to Oahu because there are more seats available,” Chun said. “If you look at the long-term growth, you see more visitors coming as air seats are increasing.”
Despite more arrivals, though, average daily spending has decreased.
Visitors spent only about $196 a day across the state, about 3% lower than last year. Visitors from the U.S. West and East, Japan, Canada and all other international markets all spent less than the same period in 2018.
The decline is largely due to visitors spending less on lodging and transportation, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.