Maui Business

Summer Ends Strong for Maui Tourism Economy

September 28, 2012, 8:42 AM HST
* Updated September 28, 8:44 AM
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Keawakapu Beach. Maui. Photo by Sonia Isotov

By Sonia Isotov

Double-digit increases in visitor arrivals and expenditures marked a strong summer travel season for Maui, according to preliminary statistics released yesterday by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.

Through August 2012, Hawai‘i welcomed 5.38 million guests which contributed to the 20% or $1.6 billion growth in total visitor expenditures, translating to $1.04 billion in state tax revenue.

In August 2012, higher daily spending (+5.8% to $187 per person) and growth in arrivals (+10.1%) resulted in a 14.4% growth in Maui’s total visitor expenditures to $281 million.

“While we expect continued growth, we anticipate less significant increases in the fourth quarter and as compared to the significant year over year increases reported during the first eight months of 2012,” said Mike McCartney, the president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, in a written statement released yesterday.


Total year-to-date visitor expenditures on Maui rose 21% to $2.5 billion, compared to year-to-date 2011. Of the 1,568,747 visitors (+6%) through August 2012, six out of ten stayed exclusively on Maui


“Maui’s 14% growth in total visitor expenditures in August resulted from higher daily spending (+6% to $187 per person) and growth in arrivals (+10%) particularly from US East (+11%) and US West (+9%).

Increased arrivals to Maui from US East and US West were offset by  lower arrivals from Canada (-2.6%) and Japan (-1.5%).

Photo courtesy: Makena Beach & Golf Resort.

Total visitor expenditures on Maui rose 20.5% compared to year-to-date 2011 to $2.5 billion. Of the 1,568,747 visitors to Maui (+6.0%) through August 2012, six out of ten visitors stayed there exclusively.


Total expenditures by visitors who came to Hawai‘i in August 2012 rose 14.6% (or +$151.4 million) compared to the previous year to $1.19 billion

Higher daily spending and an 11% growth in total arrivals (to 725,642 visitors) contributed to this increase statewide increase.

For the first eight months of 2012, total visitor expenditures rose 20% to $9.59 billion, with increases from US West (+10.3% to $3.1 billion), US East (+10.9% to $2.4 billion), Japan (+23.4% to $1.7 billion), Canada (+10.7% to $682.1 million) and All Others (+62.9% to $1.8 billion).

Total arrivals grew 10% to 5,378,263 visitors, with arrivals from all other markets climbing 28.2%. Total visitor expenditures on each of the four major Hawaiian Islands increased by double-digits compared to year-to-date 2011.

Among Hawaii’s top visitor markets, arrivals by air from US West grew 7.6% from August 2011 to 307,192 visitors, the tenth consecutive month of growth. Total US West visitor expenditures increased 13.6% to $423 million. Arrivals from US East in August 2012 rose 9.6% compared to last August at 143,785 visitors. Increased daily spending also boosted US East total visitor expenditures (+19%) to $277.1 million.

Japanese tourists enjoy a day on Maui. Courtesy of HVCB.

Japanese arrivals rose 12.8% to 155,318 visitors in August 2012, but remained lower than the August 1996 record of 205,025 visitors. A drop in daily spending (-4.0%) resulted in a moderate; 5.6%, increase in total expenditures to $248 million.

Canadian arrivals totaled 27,282 visitors, slightly lower (-0.6%) compared to August 2011, while total visitor expenditures declined 1.4% to $45.3 million. All other markets showed strong growth in total visitor expenditures (+29.2% to $194.4 million) and arrivals (+28.8% at 90,182 visitors) compared to August 2011.

Visitor arrivals by cruise ships rose 3.8% (to 1,883 visitors) over August 2011.

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