Hors d’oeuvres

Hors d’oeuvres

Do changes in “visitors” arriving to the State of Hawaii from the Hawaii Tourism Authority match changes in “non-resident” mobile devices? Take look below. This might be worth further investigation.

Using mobile data, can a business owner, business advocate, or government decision maker understand more “geographically” how visitor arrivals and expenditures statewide impact visits to points of interest within their local economy? Non-resident visitors may be an important market for some, but not all, businesses in Hawaii.

State of Hawaii Visitor Arrivals & Expenditures

The graph below is data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority on monthly visitor expenditures and expenditures per capita on total visitor arrivals from January 1999 to July 2021. You can see that the COVID-19 public health emergency response created by far the most significant decrease in total visitor arrivals to the State of Hawaii over the last twenty years.

Non-Resident Mobile Devices

The two graphs below compare Hawaii Tourism Authority data on visitor arrivals with SafeGraph non-resident mobile devices. Notice that while there is a near total drop in official visitor arrivals between March and October 2020 based on data collected by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the number of detected “non-resident” mobile devices in the State of Hawaii over the same time period increases from 19,000 to 35,000 devices, or from 20 to 35% of all mobile devices.


Monthly SafeGraph visit panel summary and home panel summary data were queried for the State of Hawaii and added from PostgreSQL. The Hawaii Tourism Authority visitor arrival data was added from their publicly-available Excel table download and then bound into a final table in R. Final graphs were constructed using the dygraphs R package.For more information on the methodology and how non-mobile devices were inferred, see a fuller elaboration here.

Tell us what you think.

Contact the principal investigator: higeomancer at gmail.com

Maps and other information products published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Data ("Patterns" and "Places") provided by SafeGraph through a 1-year non-commercial data license agreement.