Hawaii tourism

Hawaii tourism swings wildly again as visitors spend 67%

One of the most surprising things about travel to Hawaii this year is the endless appetite of visitors, as well as the unpredictability of tourism, even in what should now be off-season. In a word “coco”, you spent more, stayed longer and for every 50 visitors you supported a job.

The state “remains confident that Hawai’i will achieve full recovery by 2025.” Each visitor, on average, puts $250 into the state tax coffers, not counting county taxes. Even with this success, however, the current Lieutenant Governor Josh Green wants to impose a $50 fee on all arrivals if elected governor.

Looking at those numbers for September 2022, some will wonder why he would even spoil that success. Statewide visitors spent $1.45 billion last month, up 18.5%. You also stayed longer than before Covid, up 5.9% to 8.9 vacation days in Hawaii on average.

The largest spending in the visitor sector soared in September.

Visitors from western states are the financial drivers of travel to Hawaii. Last month, for example, their number increased by 29% and accounted for 62% of all spending by domestic visitors.

The amount they spent was mind-boggling, as the state reports:

“Visitors from the American West spent $779.8 million in September 2022, up 67.3% of $466 million in September 2019.

Visitors from the US East Coast also increased by 28.4% in number. These visitors accounted for 38% of domestic spending. And in dollars, the state said, “Visitors from the Eastern United States spent $423.1 million in September 2022, up 46.5 percent.” International visitor numbers and spending remained significantly reduced.

Kauai eclipsed past tourism numbers.

One island, Kauai, stood out, where travel reached record levels, eclipsing 2019 by 12.5%. In September, 105,000 visitors visited the Garden Island, and spending was +29% compared to 2019.

Oahu’s performance was relatively lackluster.

Visitors to Honolulu were 386,000 last month, down 16% from 2019. Overall visitor spending was up 12%. Putting these two together tells the story that last month’s Oahu visitors spent significantly more.

Maui visitor statistics showed a slight increase.

Maui welcomed 218,000 visitors last month, up 4% from 2019. Visitor spending on Maui saw a more modest 22.3% increase, compared to Kauai, in total spending.

The Big Island has seen an increase in visitors but much more spending.

The island of Hawaii welcomed 118,000 visitors last month, up 5.3% from 2019. Spending was $193 million, up 32% from 2019.

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Do you think this trend will continue?

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