Maui Business

Despite August Drop, Visitors Up for Year

September 23, 2011, 1:14 PM HST
* Updated September 23, 4:30 PM
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Minature-mob kicks off 13th Annual Keiki Hula Festival on Maui. Image grap, courtesy Lahaina Cannery Mall.

By Sonia Isotov

Despite the decline in Maui visitor arrivals for August, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) has released preliminary figures indicating that total arrivals and spending for all of 2011 to date remains up over 2010 with a 10.5% increase in overall spending and an average daily spending level of $180.

Arrivals by air only in August 2011 decreased 2.4% from last August to 188,982 visitors for Maui, and decreased by 4.2% statewide to 650,120 for the same period.

Overall spending statewide increased 14.1% and statewide average daily spending level was $178 for all of 2011 to date. Total expenditures by visitors who came to Maui and Hawai’i in the first eight months of 2011 rose 15% and 14.1%, respectively, compared to the same period last year, to $2.14 and $8.25 billion, respectively.

Total visitor days for Maui and statewide for all visitors in the first eight months of 2011 increased 5.7% and 3.9%, respectively, and total arrivals (+4.5% and +2.5%, respectively) continued to be ahead of last year at 1,417,896 and 4,766,248 visitors, respectively.

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With the increased airlift seen recently, the HTA remains confident that Hawaii is still on track to hit 2011 targets. “Most of this optimism is due to the anticipated increases in airlift from key markets such as Korea, Japan, China and Australia. And we fully expect this growth in airlift to continue well into 2012,” said Mike McCartney, president and chief executive officer, Hawaii Tourism Authority, in a written statement released yesterday.

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“We also expect continued growth in visitor spending, in part due to the advantageous monetary exchange rate for markets such as Japan and Canada. This has played a major role in the increase in daily and overall spending, resulting in $1 billion more to our state’s economy compared to the same time last year,” continued McCartney.

Arrivals from Canada rose 15.7% statewide compared to August 2010, the fourteenth consecutive month of double-digit growth.  Japanese arrivals showed the smallest decrease in four months, just 2.6% lower compared to August 2010. Arrivals from US West fell 10%, the largest drop since March 2009 (-23.2%) and the third straight month of decline.  US East arrivals (-6.9%) also decreased for the third consecutive month.

For the first eight months of 2011, strong growth in arrivals and higher average daily spending contributed to a 30.1% jump in total expenditures by Canadian visitors.  Total expenditures by US West (+7.6%) and US East (+8.6%) visitors continued to increase, boosted by higher average daily spending and moderate growth in arrivals. Total Japanese visitor expenditures also grew (+4.9%), even though Japanese arrivals were 8.2% lower compared to year-to-date 2010.

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For the month of August 2011, total visitor expenditures grew 2.3% ($24.5 million) from August 2010, to $1.08 billion.  Contributing to the increase was higher daily spending by all visitors ($179 per person, up from $168 per person in August 2010), even though total arrivals declined 4.2% to 651,529 visitors.

A total of 1,409 visitors arrived aboard cruise ship in August 2011, down 25.8%. Similar to last August only one cruise ship arrived in Hawai’i in this off-season period.

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