HAWAII TOURISM FEELS THE IMPACT OF KILAUEA VOLCANO ERUPTION

Joe McClain - Jun 11, 2018
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After the eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano in May, many tourists have been discouraged from visiting the tropical state for the summer, which had a serious impact on Hawaii tourism sector, resulting in the visitor numbers dropping by almost 10%.

According to the latest analysis released by ForwardKeys, which monitors future travel patterns by studying 17 million flight booking transactions each day, the alarming effects of the Kilauea volcano eruption have also spread to the Hawaii tourism sector.

Just in the third of the year, the amount of international flight bookings to Hawaii (excluding those from the United States) increased by a 5.4%, in comparison to the same period of the previous year, with four of its five main issuing markets growing significantly in booking numbers.

During this period, Japan increased by 4.5%, Australia by a 12.6%, China by 12%, Germany by 29.3% and New Zealand by 16%, with only Canada dropping by 1.4%.

Despite this promising future for Hawaii tourism industry, the entire market changed after the Kilauea’s eruption on May 3. The total bookings for this month fell by 9.8%, with a considerable fall in its most prominent markets: Canada (23.2%), Australia (32.2%), China (39.8%), Germany (47.7%), and New Zealand (27.5%).

The only issuing market that defied this downward trend was Japan, in which bookings increased by 10.6%.

Although May’s bookings have seen a huge dip, looking at the next five-month period, until the end of October, long-term bookings are still 2.2% higher than last year.

Bookings for the months of June and July have been marginally reduced by 0.5% and 1.6%, respectively. Meanwhile, bookings for August, September and October reported increases of 6.7%, 7.9% and 2.3%, respectively; so the Hawaii tourism prospects seem to challenge the initial forecasts.

As for bookings of Hawaii’s issuing markets, the numbers from June to October increased by 3.2% for Japan, Australia (6.7%), Canada (3.1%), and Germany (6.8%). The highest growth has been registered in the New Zealand visitor market with an increase of a 27%, mainly due to the rise of over 60% in available seats. On the other hand, bookings from China drop by 18.9% until late October.

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