Visitor industry leads recovery

The visitor industry on Maui, and Hawaii in general, had a very nice first half of 2013.

Building on the momentum of the last two strong years, the Hawaii Tourism Authority reported last week that visitor spending on Maui was up 11.9 percent over the first half of last year to $1.9 billion. The number of visitors was up 3.8 percent to 1,200,190.

Statewide, total visitor spending was over $7.3 billion. Total spending by visitors was up in every sector except Japan. Total visitor days were up 3.2 percent statewide over the first half of 2012. Per person per day spending was up 3.6 percent.

The strong performance by the visitor industry has now spread, of course, to other areas of the economy. Certainly, the increased taxes from the industry have helped right Hawaii government’s budget problems.

Much of the construction industry is back at work. Huge commercial construction projects are underway on Maui and the build-out of the Maui Business Park appears to spell a very busy schedule for the next few years.

Real estate has rebounded and a lack of inventory has again made it a seller’s market.

All of this can be traced to the leadership of the visitor industry. The folks at HTA and the Maui Visitors Bureau have done an excellent job of marketing and we are all benefiting from their efforts.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.