Maui Business

Maui visitors in February more than double from same month last year

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Kahului Airport sign. PC: Wendy Osher (8.18.21)

Maui visitor arrivals last month more than doubled compared with the same timeframe last year.  

Meanwhile, trips from the US Mainland to Hawaiʻi last month exceeded pre-pandemic numbers, according to state data released today. 

For Maui, February’s visitor arrivals jumped nearly 109% year over year: There were 193,232 visitors last month compared to 92,608 visitors in February 2021, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s preliminary visitor statistics report released today. 

Maui visitors last month were still under pre-pandemic highs of 234,823 visitors in February 2020 and 221,603 in February 2019. However, the pre-pandemic visitor counts include travelers from cruise ship and international markets, sectors that are only recently starting to recover. 

In light of the strong demand from the US Mainland market since the reopening of tourism, statewide numbers for US Mainland arrivals last month topped pre-pandemic highs.  

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Hawaiʻi saw 563,519 total US visitors, compared with 546,820 in February 2020 and 489,011 in February 2019. 

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The average daily census, which measures how many visitors were on an island on any given day, showed Maui last month was within pre-pandemic ranges. 

Maui’s average daily census in February was 61,218 visitors, compared to 32,237 visitors (+89.9%) in February 2021; 67,678 visitors (-9.5%) in February 2020; and 67,040 visitors (-8.7%) in February 2019. 

When it comes to visitor spending, Maui County topped the state last month. 

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Lānaʻi’s per person per day spending was $589, and Maui’s was $235. Oʻahu was next with $234. Also, Lānai’s per person per trip spending was $2,708, and Maui’s was $2084. Oʻahu trailed at $1,749. 

Compared to previous years, Maui’s visitor spending was $402.8 million this February, $135.4 million (+197.4%) in February 2021, $458.5 million (-12.1%) in February 2020, and $413.2 million (-2.5%) in February 2019. 

Statewide, visitor spending last month more than doubled compared to the same timeframe last year. February 2022 was $1.31 billion compared to $397.1 million (+229.9%) spent in February 2021. 

Last month’s visitor spending was lower than pre-pandemic months: $1.46 billion (-10.4%) spent in February 2020 and $1.39 billion (-5.6%) reported for February 2019. 

When looking at the US Mainland markets, though, daily visitor spending in the first two months of this year was much higher than $189 per person (+18.6%) in the first two months of 2020 and $182 per person (+23.1%) in the first two months of 2019, the report said.  

“Visitors spent $1.3 billion in February which was 10% more per person, per day than in 2019, even though statewide we saw less visitor arrivals,” Mike McCartney, state DBEDT director, said in a news release. 

Additionally, international travel to Hawaiʻi is beginning to bounce back from last year’s lows.

Canadian visits saw a strong rebound last month compared with the same timeframe last year.  

Through the first two months of 2022, there were 52,597 visitors from Canada, compared to 3,390 visitors (+1,451.3%) in the first two months of 2021. The majority of Canadian visitors in February 2022, were repeat visitors (78.6%) while 21.4 percent were first-timers to Hawaiʻi.  

Also, there were 5,031 visitors from Japan through the first two months of this year, compared to 1,859 visitors (+170.6%) in the first two months of 2021. However, Japan visitor counts are well-below pre-pandemic numbers: 242,117 visitors (-97.9%) arrived in the first two months of 2020, and 241,071 visitors (-97.9%) came in the first two months of 2019. 

Cruise ship numbers are also creeping back up as the state was closed to cruise ships for all of last year.  

In February 2022, 6,956 visitors came to the islands aboard four out-of-state cruise ships. In February 2020, 15,086 visitors arrived on seven out-of-state cruise ships while 11,317 visitors came by air to board the Hawaiʻi home-ported cruise ship. In February 2019, 16,315 visitors arrived on eight out-of-state cruise ships and another 9,046 visitors came by air to board the Hawaiʻi home-ported cruise ship. 

The Hawaiʻi home-ported cruise ship, Pride of America, will resume operations next month. 

Looking ahead, McCartney said he anticipates the state to continue to see high visitor spending, especially in light of international markets returning.  

“We expect Hawaiʻi to continue with this forward momentum, especially into spring then into summer because of the arrival of Japanese visitors and other international markets,” he said in the release. 

Kehaulani Cerizo
Kehaulani Cerizo was born and raised on Maui and worked for nearly 15 years as a news reporter, copy editor and features editor at daily newspapers. She earned awards at The Maui News in Wailuku and at Today’s Local News in San Diego.
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