Lanai, Molokai see big increases in visitors for July

Maui is on path to another record year

Lanai island continued posting double-digit increases in visitor arrivals and spending in July, a trend that has been ongoing at least since the beginning of this year, Hawai’i Tourism Authority monthly statistics show.

For the month of July, Lanai welcomed 6,251 visitors, up 19.1 percent from the same month last year, the authority reported. For visitor expenditures, the island saw spending jump 67.9 percent from $5.1 million to $8.6 million.

Molokai also reported big percentage increases for the month, albeit with smaller numbers. The Friendly Isle’s visitor arrivals climbed 32.2 percent to 5,644, and its spending soared 109.5 percent to $2.9 million.

Lanai’s arrivals in July were a bit off the pace of the year so far. For the year’s first seven months, the Pineapple Isle’s visitor count is up 21.7 percent to 45,420, more than twice Kauai’s 10.8 percent increase, the second highest percentage of arrival growth in the state for the year through July. Lanai’s year-to-July visitor spending grew 38.1 percent to $66.1 million.

Last month, Lanai tourism officials explained the higher arrival and spending numbers were from visitors rediscovering the island after the $75 million renovation of the resort at Manele Bay. The redevelopment project closed the luxury hotel for seven months from 2015 to 2016. Rooms at the sister Koele resort were used to house construction workers.

The Manele hotel reopened in February 2016 as the Four Seasons Resort Lanai. It has 217 rooms, including 51 suites.

Visitor days on Lanai were up 14.4 percent for the month and up 25.4 percent for the first seven months of the year.

Maui and Kauai were the only major islands in the state to have double-digit increases in visitor spending for July and the first seven months of the year.

In July, visitor spending on the Valley Isle grew 11.3 percent to $481.5 million, and its year-to-July take of expenditures was up 12.1 percent to nearly $3.2 billion. The tourism authority noted that per visitor daily spending fell 2.1 percent to $207. Kauai reported visitor spending up 17.6 percent to $194.6 million for the month and up 10.5 percent to $1.23 billion for the year through July.

Maui’s visitor arrivals in July climbed 12.7 percent to 295,110, and they were up 8.4 percent to nearly 1.76 million for the first seven months. The authority reported that more visitors came from Canada (up 26.8 percent), the West Coast (up 16 percent) and East Coast (up 8.5 percent), while there were fewer visitors from Japan (down 17.6 percent).

For Canadian visitors, nights in hotels were down 6 percent and down 19.3 percent in timeshare units. However, more Canadians were staying in condominiums (up 16.4 percent) and rental homes (up 38.3 percent).

Maui’s average daily census of visitors increased 13.7 percent to 74,929 people from off-island in July.

In July, airlines provided 15.3 percent more seats to people flying to Kahului Airport. And, there were more seats to Kona (up 29.6 percent), Lihue (up 12 percent) and Hilo (up 5.7 percent). There were 0.8 percent fewer seats to Honolulu compared with a year ago, the authority reported.

Statewide, visitor arrivals increased 5.3 percent to 939,360 in July, and they were up 7.7 percent to 5.9 million through July. Visitor spending in the islands grew 4.8 percent to $1.66 billion in July, and the year-to-July visitor expenditures climbed 9.8 percent to $10.9 billion.

* Brian Perry can be reached at bperry@mauinews.com.

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