Hawaii Rakes in the Tourist Dollars

Tourist Spending in Hawaii Has Increased

Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) just released preliminary visitor statistics for May 2022, revealing that a total of 776,375 travelers visited the state last month. That represents a 91.6 percent tourism recovery when compared with May 2019’s pre-pandemic tourism levels (847,396 visitors).

May’s recovery rate is lower than the previous month’s, with a 96.3 recovery rate recorded in April, but it’s still the second-highest visitation rate seen since March 2020. Last month, out-of-state visitors across the Hawaiian Islands spent $1.56 billion—an amount that’s actually 10.6 percent greater than the $1.41 billion in tourist spending seen in May 2019.


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Of Hawaii’s total visitors for May 2022, 774,144 arrived by air, mainly from the Western and Eastern U.S., while 2,231 arrived via cruise ships. Compared to Hawaii’s May 2019 numbers, air arrivals last month were down 7.4 percent, and cruise ship arrivals were down 80.3 percent. For all visitors, the average length of stay last month was 8.87 days, up six percent from May 2019’s average of 8.37 days.

May 2022’s statewide average daily census (i.e., the number of visitors present on any given day) was 222,071 visitors, down 2.9 percent in comparison with May 2019’s 228,768 visitors.

From January through May 2022, total visitor spending in the Aloha State reached $7.39 billion, an increase of 2.3 percent over $7.23 billion recorded in the first five months of 2019. The first five months of 2022 saw a total of 3,588,405 visitor arrivals, down 15 percent from the 4,224,071 visitors who came to Hawaii in the first five months of 2019.

Skyline of Honolulu, Hawaii
Skyline of Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo via buraktumler / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Domestic Visitors

Last month, 453,989 visitors came to Hawaii by air from the Western U.S., an increase of 17.1 percent compared to the 387,844 air arrivals reported in May 2019. Travelers from the Western U.S. spent $782.7 million in May 2022, up 38.8 percent from $564 million in May 2019. At $206 per person, daily spending by visitors from this region in May 2022 was 18.7 percent higher than in May 2019, when it was $174 per person.

Last month saw 222,144 visitors come to Hawaii from the Eastern U.S., an 11.4 percent increase over the 199,344 visitors recorded in May 2019. Travelers from this region spent $550.3 million in May 2022, up 40.2 percent from $392.4 million spent by the tourists from the same market in May 2019. At $259 per person, Eastern U.S. visitors’ daily spending in May 2022 was 22.6 percent higher than in May 2019, when it was $211 per person.

Visitor Numbers

Source MarketMay 2022May 2019Change
West U.S.453,989387,844+17.1%
East U.S.222,144199,344+11.4%
Other International65,523109,220-40%

Tropical, island, sunset, palm trees, airplanes, planes,Hawaii
A tropical sunset in Hawaii. (photo via leekris/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Visitor Spending

Source MarketMay 2022May 2019Change
West U.S.$782.7 million$564 million+38.8%
East U.S.$550.3 million$392.4 million+40.2%
Japan$15.6 million$162.4 million-90.4%
Canada$55.4 million$48.3 million+14.8%

Daily Spending (per person)

Source MarketMay 2022May 2019Change
West U.S.$206$174+18.7%
East U.S.$259$211+22.6%

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