Maui visitor expenditures through September have reached $2.7 billion, up nearly 20 percent from the same period last year, according to preliminary statistics released Tuesday by the Hawai'i Tourism Authority.
A total of 1.7 million visitors have come to the island through September, a 5.6 percent increase over the same period last year. Of those visitors, almost 62 percent stayed exclusively on the island, the report said.
For the month of September, increased daily spending of 9.8 percent to $203 per person and arrivals (up 2.4 percent to 161,721 visitors) elevated Maui's total visitor expenditures 13.3 percent to $241.2 million.
Growth in arrivals from the U.S. West (up 1.7 percent from the same month in 2011 to 81,249) and Japan (up 13.1 percent to 6,860) offset lower arrivals from the U.S. East (down 1.7 percent to 40,736) and Canada (down 4.2 percent to 9,115) in September.
The Maui data reflect what is happening statewide with double-digit increases in visitor expenditures across the four major islands and Molokai ($3.1 million, up 39 percent) for September. That led to an increase of $1.7 billion to $10.7 billion in year-to-date spending over 2011.
Total expenditures by visitors statewide in September rose 15.6 percent, or $146.5 million, to $1.1 billion, compared to the same month last year. Contributing to this increase was higher daily spending and a 6.1 percent growth in total arrivals to 595,019 visitors.
Among the state's top visitor markets, arrivals by air from the U.S. West increased 3.1 percent from September 2011 to 232,076 visitors, the 11th consecutive month of growth. Total U.S. West visitor expenditures for the month rose 13.2 percent to $344.3 million.
After 12 months of increases, U.S. East arrivals fell 1.9 percent to 109,922 visitors in September. Despite this decline, higher daily spending boosted U.S. East total visitor expenditures (up 6.7 percent) to $232.8 million.
Japanese arrivals grew 9 percent to 133,958 visitors in September. A small drop in daily spending (down 2 percent to $299 per person) was offset by a longer length of stay (6.33 days from 6.03 days). The net result was a 12.2 percent increase in total visitor spending to $253.5 million, the report said.
Canadian arrivals totaled 19,239 visitors, down 2.2 percent compared to September 2011, while total visitor expenditures were similar to last September at $36.5 million.
There was strong growth in arrivals (up 19.7 percent to 88,168 visitors) and total spending (up 40.4 percent to $214.8 million) by visitors from other developing markets.
Visitor arrivals by cruise ships climbed 52.5 percent (to 11,656 visitors) from September 2011.
"While arrivals increased at a slower rate than recent months, we were extremely pleased that the pace of expenditure growth has not weakened," said Mike McCartney, president and chief executive officer of the Hawai'i Tourism Authority.
Going into the fourth quarter, McCartney expressed optimism because of new routes by Hawaiian Airlines from Sapporo, Japan, and Brisbane, Australia; Jetstar from Melbourne, Australia, and Allegiant from the West Coast, including a Bellingham, Wash., to Kahului flight.
"These new routes are all servicing secondary cities, which will provide greater ease of access for visitors to come to the Hawaiian Islands," he said.
McCartney also cited the EA Sports Maui Invitational around Thanksgiving to help to draw visitors for the quarter.
"We are encouraged by the growth we have seen in expenditures and arrivals for the year so far and remain committed to working with the industry and our global marketing partners to achieve our overall targets of $13.9 billion in expenditures and 7.9 million visitor arrivals by the end of 2012," he said.
Other tidbits involving Maui County:
* Lanai showed $5.7 million in total visitor expenditures for September, down 0.8 percent from the same month in 2011. Year-to-date expenditures were $60 million, up 0.3 percent.
* Molokai logged 3,975 visitor arrivals for September, up 9.7 percent from 2011, but visitor numbers year to date of 40,360 were down 1.8 percent.
* Lanai had 5,513 visitors, down 1.7 percent from September 2011. Year-to-date, the island had 57,023 visitors, down almost 1 percent.
* Average length of stay for visitors on Maui in September was 7.34 days, a slight increase from last year. That was lower than the 9.79 days for the month statewide. The September number was 4.98 days for Molokai and 3.8 days for Lanai.