One of the most surprising things about Hawaii travel this year is the unending appetite of visitors, as well as the unpredictability of tourism, even in what should by now be the off-season. In a “coco” nutshell, you’ve spent more, stayed longer, and for every 50 visitors, you’ve supported one job.
The state “remains positive that Hawai’i will achieve a full recovery by 2025.” Each visitor, on average, puts $250 into the state tax coffer, not including county taxes. Even with this success, however, current Lt. Governor Josh Green wants to impose a $50 fee on all arrivals if elected governor.
When looking at these numbers for September 2022, some will wonder why he would even mess with this success. Visitors statewide spent $1.45 billion last month, up 18.5%. You also stayed longer than pre-Covid, up 5.9% at 8.9 days of Hawaii vacation on average.
The most important visitor sector spending soared in September.
Visitors from the western states are the financial drivers for Hawaii travel. Last month, for example, their numbers increased by 29% and represented 62% of all domestic visitor spending.
The amount they spent was eye-popping as the state reports:
“U.S. West visitors spent $779.8 million in September 2022, up 67.3 percent from $466 million in September 2019.
US-east coast visitors also increased by 28.4% in numbers. These visitors represented 38% of domestic spending. And in dollars, the state said, “U.S. East visitors spent $423.1 million in September 2022, up 46.5 percent.” International visitor numbers and spending remained significantly suppressed.
Kauai eclipsed prior tourism numbers.
One island, Kauai, was a standout performer, where travel soared to record levels, eclipsing 2019 by 12.5%. In September, 105K visitors came to the Garden Island, and spending was +29% compared to 2019.
Oahu’s performance was relatively lackluster.
Visitors to Honolulu were 386K last month, down 16% compared with 2019. Overall visitor spending was up by 12%. Putting those two together tells the story that last month’s Oahu visitors spent far more.
Maui visitors statistics showed a modest uptick.
Maui saw 218K visitors last month, which was +4% compared with 2019. Visitor spending on Maui was a more modest 22.3% increase, compared with Kauai, in total spending.
The Big Island had some increase in visitors but a lot more spending.
Hawaii Island had 118K visitors last month, up 5.3% compared with 2019. Spend was $193M, +32% compared with 2019.
Do you think this trend will continue?