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Tourism Indicators

Economic drivers relating to the tourism industry

DEFINITIONS: Tourism Indicators 

Visitor Arrivals: Visitor Arrivals by air measures the number of tourists coming to Hawaii by subtracting Hawaii residents from official passenger counts reported by air carriers.  The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) administer two surveys to air passengers to identify residents and tourists on flights.  Counts of visitor arrivals are a common measure of tourism demand, particularly for Hawaii where more than 98% of tourists to arrive by plane.

The largest source of visitors to Hawaii is the western United States—more than 40 percent of all Hawaii visitors come from states west of the Rocky Mountains.  The next largest markets are the eastern United States (25 percent) and Japan (18 percent).  The United States, Japan, and Canada combine for about 90 percent of all Hawaii visitors.

Data Source: Hawaii Tourism Authority and State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT)
Link: Visitor Highlights - Monthly Visitor Statistics, released near the end of each month.

Visitor Expenditures:  Visitor expenditures are a direct way of evaluating visitor contributions to economic activity.  These data collected by HTA and DBEDT include lodging, transportation, shopping, dining, and other entertainment expenditures, provide the best measure of the broad effects of tourism throughout the economy.  Of course, because these data are measured in dollars, they combine the effects of price changes and the effects of changes in quantity of tourism services sold. 

Data Source: Hawaii Tourism Authority and State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT)
Link: Visitor Highlights - Monthly Visitor Statistics, released near the end of each month.

Daily Room Rate: The daily room rate is generally regarded as a lagging indicator of the strength of the hotel industry in Hawaii.  Room prices are generally “sticky,” falling only after persistently low demand and rising slowly in response to increasing demand over time.  Room rate data are obtained from Hospitality Advisors, which surveys hotels throughout the State.  The combination of average daily room rates and occupancy rates provides information about profitability for hotel operators.

Data Source: Hospitality Advisors LLC
Link: Hawaii Hotel Flash Report

Occupancy Rates: Hotel occupancy rates are compiled weekly by Hospitality Advisors.  Higher occupancy rates lead to more hours for existing accommodations industry workers and eventually result in additional hiring when high occupancy rates are sustained.  Long patterns in occupancy rates can also affect future planning decisions to build or renovate facilities.  For instance, if occupancy rates are low and there is a lot of excess capacity, hoteliers have less incentive to invest in adding to the stock of rooms available.

 Data Source: Hospitality Advisors LLC
Link: Hawaii Hotel Flash Report

Visitor Length Of Stay (Or Visitor Days): On the DBEDT and HTA surveys, visitors are asked for both arrival and departure dates.  This is useful in measuring tourist demand for goods and services during their stay in Hawaii.  Visitors by air usually fly in and out of the state once per trip regardless of the length of stay, but each day spent in the islands results in additional lodging, dining, and other spending.  Information about the number of days spent in Hawaii can therefore help evaluate how arrivals from various markets affect industries like accommodations or retail trade differently.

Data Sources: Hawaii Tourism Authority and State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT)
Link: Visitor Highlights - Monthly Visitor Statistics, released near the end of each month.

Room Stock: Taken together with occupancy rates, the count of availaroom stock (also known as the Visitor Plant Inventory or VPI) provide a way to evaluate whether lodging capacity on each island is high or low relative to demand.  The room stock generally falls or rises only in the long run in response to longer trends, as hotel and time share operators as well as condo owners can actively move rooms in and out of inventory to manage costs or use periods of lower demand to renovate properties.  

Data Sources: Hawaii Tourism Authority and State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) 
Link: Visitor Plant Inventory Report
Additional Link: Visitor Plant Inventory

Passenger Count: DBEDT reports passenger counts for both domestic and international flights daily using data from the State’s Department of Transportation and Department of Agriculture. Due to the very timely publication of this information, passenger counts are useful in gauging visitor arrivals between official monthly releases of arrivals data.  But keep in mind that passenger counts include both visitors and returning residents and may deviate significantly from visitor arrivals data for short periods of time. 

Data Sources:  State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) Special Series
Link: Passenger Counts

Scheduled Seats Outlook:  The number of air seats operated by carriers to Hawaii is calculated using flight schedules of all approved carriers and the known capacities of the aircraft used on each route.  The Monthly Scheduled Seats Outlook is a forward looking measure of flight schedules for the current month and the following two months.  HTA prepares the data based on scheduled flights from OAG flight schedules and Sabre database.

Link: Air Seats Capacity Outlook
Additional Link: Airline Seats Capacity Outlook (HTA)