Maui Visitor Arrivals down 2.4%; Length Of Stay up 1.3%

September 24, 2009, 12:57 PM HST · Updated September 24, 12:57 PM
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Total visitor arrivals in August 2009 were virtually unchanged from the same time last year according to statistics released today by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.  Oahu fared the best with a 1.6 % increase in total arrivals; but total visitations decreased for Hawai’i island (-8%), Kaua’i (-5.2%) and Maui (-2.4%) in August 2009.

File Image by Wendy Osher.

File Image by Wendy Osher.

Here on Maui, a 2.4 percent decline in arrivals was partially offset by an increase in the average length of stay with visitors to the Valley Isle spending about 7 days on island.  Maui’s outer islands of Molokai and Lanai had double digit declines in arrivals, down 44 and 22 percent respectively.

More U.S. West visitors went to O’ahu (+14.2%) and Maui (+4%) as part of their trip to the islands compared to August 2008. Growth was even stronger in the number of U.S. West visitors who stayed exclusively on O’ahu (+19.2%) or Maui (+7.4%) compared to the same time last year.

“Growth in arrivals from the U.S. West helped offset decreased arrivals from all other geographic areas,” said State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert. “When your base business, specifically conventions, meetings and incentives, declines 37.4 percent compared to the previous year it is very difficult to make up the loss with leisure travelers. Decreased visitor spending, a byproduct of aggressive pricing, is affecting all sectors of our industry and the overall economy,” said Wienert.

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“After 17 months of declining arrivals, we are pleased to see that visitor arrivals overall have held steady for the past two months and that arrivals from our main market, U.S. West, have shown an increase for four consecutive months,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO for Hawai’i Tourism Authority. “We believe that this is partly attributed to efforts by our marketing partner, the Hawai’i Visitors and Conventions Bureau, including the recent blitzes to San Francisco and Los Angeles,” said McCartney.

“Because of the groundwork that we’ve been laying through our marketing programs during the past year, we are poised to take advantage of the economic recovery that some of our key international markets are experiencing, notably the Korea market where we’ve seen a 21 percent increase in arrivals over 2008,” continued McCartney. “We are also encouraged by several major conventions arriving this fall including the American Dental Association (Sept. 30-Oct. 4) and the Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses 2009 International Convention (November) which are expected to generate $49.8 million in direct visitor spending and approximately 255,340 room nights.”

Total expenditures were down on all islands in August compared to the same time last year, with Maui experiencing a 14.7 percent drop to $203 million.  Total expenditures on Oahu decreased 11.7 percent to $443.6 million; total visitor spending on Hawai’i Island declined 19.5 percent to $97.6 million; and total visitor spending on Kaua’i fell 12.2 percent to $85.7 million.

Average per person per day spending by air visitors declined to $159 per person from $177 in the first eight months of 2008.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; Information provided by the Hawaii Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism)

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