Visitor Arrivals Down, Spending Up for Maui

December 27, 2013, 2:18 PM HST · Updated December 29, 9:41 AM
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Grand Wailea fountain. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Grand Wailea fountain. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Despite a slight drop in visitor arrivals to Maui in November, higher daily spending and a longer length of stay contributed to the growth in visitor expenditures for the island, according to new data released by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.

The HTA reported a 1.7% drop in arrivals to Maui in November to 179,321 visitors; a 3.5% increase in daily spending to $192 per person; and a 4% increase in length of stay in November to 8.42 days.

The combined factors resulted in an increase in visitor expenditures for Maui–up 5.8% in November to $289.6 million.  For the first eleven months of the year, visitor expenditures were up  8.4% to $3.4 billion, according to the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority.

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While the HTA reported a statewide increase in air seats to Hawaiʻi by 1.5% to 863,617, there was a 3% decline in air seats for Kahului, Maui to 142,081.  Additional drops of 6.4% in Līhu‘e, 3.8% in Kona, and 16.7% in Hilo, were offset by a 3.8% increase in air seats to Honolulu.

On Maui, there were fewer visitors in November of 2013 compared to data at the same time last year from the US West (-5.7%), US East (-7.7%), Japan (-7.9%) and Canada (-1.3%).

Overall, the HTA reports a third consecutive month of declines for both visitor expenditures and arrivals statewide, compared to the previous year.

Statewide, visitor expenditures were down 2.1% in November 2013 to $1.1 billion, while visitor arrivals to the state dropped 5.5% to 620,051 visitors, according to preliminary HTA data.

Hawaii Tourism Authority president and CEO, Mike McCartney, released a statement saying, “Tourism has contributed $1.4 billion in tax revenue for the state through November 2013, $40 million more than the same period last year. However, while year-to-date visitor arrivals and expenditures continue to exceed last year, growth continues to slow during the second half of the year with monthly decreases in arrivals and expenditures in November 2013.”

He said major contributing factors to the leveling include “increasingly aggressive competition, adjustments in product pricing and fluctuations in currency exchange rates and fuel costs.”

According to McCartney, this has resulted in more price conscious consumers, which he said has affected visitor length of stay, accommodation preferences, and spending.

“We continue to work with our global contractors to adjust our marketing plans to address these forecasted shortfalls, which we project will continue through the first half of 2014,” McCartney said.

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