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Hawaii’s 2023 Tourism Statistics: Crime, Cost, Shark Attacks & More

oahu beach scene in hawaii
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Hawaii is a famously gorgeous travel destination for Americans and beyond. It’s also one of the United States’ most fascinating and confounding states. With a unique cultural history, breathtaking beaches, and endless of tourism appeal, there’s no wonder millions of people visit the rainbow state annually.

Below are all the facts, figures, statistics, and information needed to determine if Hawaii is the ideal tourist destination for you, as well as everything you need to know before you go.

Visiting Hawaii In 2023: What To Know Before You Go

Hawaii comprises approximately 137 islands and atolls spread over 6,423 square miles. The main islands are:

  • Hawaii (“the Big Island”)
  • Maui
  • Kahoolawe (not accessible to tourists)
  • Molokai
  • Oahu
  • Niihau (not accessible to tourists)
  • Lanai
  • Kauai

Oahu is home to Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital city and biggest tourist destination. The state of Hawaii is comprised of about 1.4 million people, with around a million of those living in the capital Honolulu.

Hawaii's Population by Island

Hawaii ("Big Island")202,906


Kahoolawe is a restricted zone and is not accessible without express permission from the Hawaiian government and only for limited purposes.

Niihau, known as the “Forbidden Island,” is privately owned and inaccessible unless invited by the owners. Tourism on the island is extremely limited.


Hawaii’s Average Temperature

The average temperature in Hawaii in the summer is 79 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average temperature in the winter is 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Hawaii’s hottest month is August, and the coldest month is February. Hawaii has famously wonderful weather year-round, and the temperature stays fairly moderate throughout the year, thanks to most of Hawaii’s close proximity to the ocean. The rainy season is typically from November to March, but the rains are typically not significant enough to impact a vacation.


Immigration, Visas, and Tourism

Hawaii has a significant immigrant population, as almost one of every five residents was born in another country, and immigrant-owned companies make up over a quarter of Hawaii’s registered businesses. The majority of immigrants in Hawaii have at least some college (55%) and come from the Philippines (45%), China (9%), Japan (8%), and South Korea (6%).

Tourists from the contiguous United States and Alaska do not need a tourist visa to visit Hawaii. Those visiting from other countries will need to apply for a tourist visa unless they are part of the Visa Waiver Program. The residents of those 40 countries in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program do not need to apply for a tourist visa when visiting Hawaii.


Can you travel to Hawaii without a passport?

American citizens flying from the United States or Alaska do not need a passport but will need a government I.D. Tourists traveling from outside of the United States will need an official passport.

Tourism Statistics in Hawaii

According to the most recent census, the busiest month for Hawaii in terms of the total number of tourists is July, with an average daily census of 265,200. The slowest month is January, with a daily average of 80,843 tourists.

There were 6,777,760 visitors in 2021 in Hawaii (which is still far below the estimated 10 million pre-covid 2019 visitors). In 2021, all visitors arrived by air due to cruise ships not being operational due to the CDC’s “No Sail” pandemic order.

The Hawaiian government is predicting 9.8 million visitors and $20.8 billion in tourism spending in 2023 as the world continues to bounce back from Covid-19.


Visitor Arrivals by Location

In 2021, the majority of visitors to Hawaii hailed from the United States. In fact, 95% of Hawaii’s tourists were from the United States!

Hawaii's 2021 Visitors By Departure Destination

United States6,468,899
Other Asian Countries22,524
Latin America9,348


The average visitor stayed for 9.64 days. Over 70% of Hawaii’s visitors reported being return visitors, and the average tourist age is 44 years old.

Costs & Length of Stay in Hawaii

It’s no secret that Hawaii is an incredibly expensive U.S. tourist destination. Not only are domestic flights notoriously pricey due to the remote Pacific Island location, but goods and services are equally inflated. How expensive is it, and how does it compare to the other 49 U.S. states?

According to the cost of living aggregator Numbeo, in 2023, Honolulu, Hawaii is the most expensive city in the United States, beating out even New York City and San Francisco.


The Cost of a Hawaiian Vacation

According to the most recent data, tourist expenditures equaled $13.15 billion in 2021. Obviously, the average cost of a Hawaii vacation will depend largely on the type of travel, the island(s) visited, and the incidental spending of the vacationer. But the data shows that the average visitor to Hawaii spends $201 USD per day and $1,936.80 per trip.

Daily Spending By Hawaiian Island

IslandAverage Daily Spending Per Person
Hawaii ("Big Island")$167.60


Interestingly, where a person is traveling from impacts the average amount they spend per day while on their Hawaiian vacation. Visitors from China spent the most per day per person with an average of $318, while Europeans spent the least at $168 per person per day.

Tourist Satisfaction

Of the 2022 visitors surveyed, most indicated that they would like to return to Hawaii.

Hawaiian visitors very likely to return

Departure DestinationNumber of Visitors
United States6,468,899
Other Asian Countries22,524
Latin America9,348


Those who indicated they would not return to Hawaii often cited “too expensive” as their primary reason for being unlikely to return. Other common reasons were “too crowded/congested/traffic,” “flight too long,” “poor value,” and “want to go someplace new.”


Length of Stay in Hawaii

Those from Taiwan and Europe also tended to stay the longest during their vacation, according to the data. The average European tourist stayed 16.77 days, and the average Taiwanese tourist stayed 17.41 days. Thile those from the U.S. West Coast stayed the least amount of time at an average of 9.14 days.

Average Length of Stay in Hawaii

Starting DestinationAverage Length of Stay
South Korea14.03
Latin America12.79
New Zealand12.34
U.S East Coast10.20
U.S. West Coast9.14


Average Airbnb Costs in Hawaii in 2023

In July 2023, the average Airbnb in Hawaii costs $422. The average Room rental on Airbnb costs $146 and the average Home rental costs $400.

Interestingly, peak season is less expensive than the off-season. In December 2023, the average Airbnb rental in Hawaii costs $489. The average Room rental costs $161, and the average Home rental costs $456.

The average cost for an Airbnb Experience activity in July was $142 compared to the average activity in December at $160.

Average Cost of Airbnb on Hawaii's Islands

IslandJuly 2023December 2023Average
Hawaii Average$422$489$456
Hawaii ("Big Island")$258$332$295


Safety in Hawaii (Is Hawaii Safe for Tourists)?

Hawaii is a generally safe state. Like anywhere, there are instances of crime, but Hawaii is safer than many other states. U.S. News ranked Hawaii #10th best in the United States for Crime & Corrections as well as the #10th best for lowest crime rate.

According to the most recent statistics released by the State of Hawaii:

Arrests in Hawaii By Type

Per Capita Crime Rates By Island (County)

Unsurprisingly, Oahu (the home of Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital city) has the most crime. Oahu alone accounts for 31.1% of Hawaii’s index crime rates.

Per Capita Crime Rate in Hawaii

It should be noted that the State of Hawaii reports that these crime rates are the lowest they’ve ever been since the state started compiling this data almost 40 years ago.

The State of Hawaii reported 94 road traffic deaths in 2021, with the majority of those deaths resulting from people driving under the influence.


Shark Attack Statistics in Hawaii

Because of its popularity for surfing and water sports and the presence of sharks in the state, many tourists are concerned about shark attacks. But how many shark attacks have actually occurred in Hawaii? According to the Hawaiian government, since 1995, there have been 157 shark attacks or encounters. Only four of those attacks occurred in 2023 (so far). Only seven fatal shark attacks have occurred in over two decades.

Number of Shark Attacks Since 1995 By Activity in Hawaii

ActivityNumber of shark attacks since 1995
Stand Up Paddleboarding13
Swimming w/ Sharks4
Treading Water2
Scuba Diving2


Are Volcanos A Risk for Hawaii’s Tourists?

Hawaii does have 15 volcanos, but they do not pose a significant threat to locals or tourists. Not only are Hawaii’s volcanos incredibly well-monitored by geologists, but they also are not like the volcanos seen in movies and television which can explode devastatingly and without warning. The National Park Service will always warn of any health or safety concerns for Hawaii’s visitors

Is Hawaii Safe for LGBTQ+ Tourists?

The United States ranked 25th in the global LGBTQ+ travel safety index. But what about Hawaii specifically?

Hawaii was one of the first six U.S. states to legalize homosexuality, and same-sex marriage has been legal since 2013. Hawaiian culture has a long history of accepting LGBTQ+, as well as a third gender classification in historical Hawaiian society called “māhū.” In 2019, a study was conducted in the state with 73% of Hawaiians indicating that they favored anti-discrimination policies for LGBTQ+ individuals.

3% of Hawaii’s adult population (30,200 residents) identifies as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and 0.6% of Hawaii’s adult population (5,600 residents) identifies as transgender or non-conforming, according to a Hawaiian government report on LGBTQ+ residents. Over 11% of Hawaii’s high-school population identifies as LGBTQ+ or unsure.

The Positive and Negative Effects of Tourism on Hawaii

Being a conscious tourist is important, especially to a fragile economy and ecosystem such as Hawaii’s. While an estimated 216,000 jobs and $17.8 billion in pre-covid tourism dollars were temporarily put on hold during the pandemic, there has been a lot of conversation about how tourism positively (and negatively) impacts Hawaii’s economy and what role the government should play in mitigating the impacts of the tourism industry on the locals.

There is some sentiment that locals in Hawaii are worried about the impact that tourism is having on the ecology, and there has been a push to create more sustainable tourism.


Can Hawaii survive without tourism?

Hawaii relies heavily on tourism, and the Hawaiian government lists tourism as its largest source of income for the state. According to the most recent U.S. census, 8.9% of Hawaiian residents live in poverty. The unemployment rate in Hawaii is 3.3%. While these are lower than the national average, the fact that a quarter of Hawaii’s revenue is based on tourism means that poverty rates would likely skyrocket if not for the strong tourism industry.

Other Things to Note Before Traveling to Hawaii

It is not advised to bring animals on your vacation to Hawaii. The process of bringing a cat or dog requires rabies vaccinations, quarantine, waiting periods, and blood tests. Preparing to bring an animal takes extensive paperwork and planning and failing to meet all the requirements could mean your pet is turned away at the point of entry.

Having the essentials for the weather is important, so check out our comprehensive Hawaii packing guide written by locals. And if you happen to be a foodie, Honolulu ranked as one of the best cities for foodies in our study!

See our other comprehensive Hawaii travel and tourism guides for more in-depth information about traveling to and around Hawaii.