The takeaway from Friday's story in The Maui News about the "softening" of visitor demand in January is simply that the roaring growth of the last 2 years is leveling off a bit.
All the numbers remain healthy, but no business can sustain the explosive growth month after month, year over year, that our visitor industry posted in 2011 and 2012 and the first part of 2013.
We have a great deal of faith in the marketing abilities of the Maui Visitors Bureau and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. In addition to their demonstrated competence, they have a great product to sell so that makes their job a little easier.
In January, visitor spending fell 6.3 percent to $366.8 million on Maui. It was also down on Lanai and Molokai.
While a variety of reasons affected these declines, the strange weather on the Mainland undoubtedly figured into them. One might think the record low temperatures that swept across the Midwest and Northeast would drive visitors here.
But many families have seen their disposable income gobbled up by heating costs.
Plus, there is the factor of all the flight cancellations. How many visitors that would have come to Maui were caught up in flight cancellations and delays that lasted for days?
Although there are predictions of a continued softening for the first two quarters of 2014, arrivals and spending will still be stunningly ahead of where they were three years ago.
The visitor industry is solid and remains the bedrock of our economy.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.