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Visitors to Maui hit post-pandemic high in February

Maui County hotels also led state in revenue per room

The Kaanapali beach area fronting the Royal Lahaina Resort is busy Tuesday. Maui’s hotels and beaches have grown more crowded as the island reached 92,608 visitors in February, the highest number the island has seen since the state’s pre-travel testing program launched in October. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Maui in February recorded the highest amount of visitors the island has seen since the launch of the pre-travel testing program in the fall, according to Hawaii Tourism Authority’s most recent report.

Maui island had 92,608 visitors in February. Visitors to Maui reached 23,103 in October, 63,740 in November, 90,605 in December and 66,925 in January, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s latest report.

After discouraging travel to Hawaii and mandating a 14-day quarantine on arrivals starting in March of 2020, the state relaxed trans-Pacific travel rules on Oct. 15 as a way to boost tourism.

Maui last month continued to rival Oahu when it came to visitor numbers. The state’s most populous island pre-pandemic would typically attract double the visitors to Maui on any given month.

Oahu had 105,424 visitors in February. During the same month in 2020, Oahu had 472,086 visitors to Maui’s 234,773.

On any given day last month, there were an average of 32,237 visitors on Maui, compared with 35,935 visitors on Oahu, HTA’s report said.

Visitors to Maui tended to spend more than on other islands: Maui led the state in per person per day spending at $184, while Kauai followed at $151, Hawaii island at $137.70 and Oahu at $132.50.

However, Kauai averaged $2,152.90 when it came to per person per trip spending. Maui was at $1,794, Hawaii island was at $1,504 and Oahu was at $1,264.80.

Visitors spent the most time on Kauai, with an average trip length of a little more than 14 days. Hawaii island was next with nearly 11 days. Maui averaged 9.75 and Oahu 9.54.

Despite all counties seeing more than a 60 percent drop in year-to-date visitor numbers, each has seen an increase in per person per trip spending compared with the same time frame last year, with a 42.3 percent spike for Kauai, an 8.8 percent bump for Oahu, a 5.8 percent increase for Hawaii island and a 4.5 percent raise for Maui.

Statewide, visitor arrivals remain below pre-pandemic rates.

Maui saw a 61 percent decrease in year-over-year visitor arrivals (234,773 visited in February 2020). Oahu was down 78 percent, Kauai dropped 93.4 percent and Hawaii island was down 68.6 percent.

A total of 235,283 visitors traveled to Hawaii by air in February, compared with 828,056 visitors who came by air and cruise ships a year ago before many cruise lines suspended service.

Most of last month’s visitors were from the U.S. West (164,861, down 53.6 percent from the same time last year) and U.S. East (63,899, down 67.1 percent). Also, 695 came from Japan (a decline of 99.4 percent) and 493 came from Canada (a decrease of 99.2 percent).

There were 5,336 visitors from all other international markets (down 93.2 percent). Many were from Guam, and a small number of visitors were from other areas of Asia, Europe, Latin America, Oceania, Philippines and Pacific Islands.

HTA also released its statewide hotel and vacation rental performance reports for February, which include the following highlights for Maui:

• Maui County hotels led the counties in revenue per available room at $141, followed by Hawaii island at $98, Oahu at $50 and Kauai at $48.

• The county also recorded higher average daily rates than the others at $446, followed by Hawaii island at $276, Kauai at $181 and Oahu at $169.

• When it came to occupancy, Hawaii island recorded 35.3 percent, Maui County reached 31.7 percent, Oahu had 29.3 percent and Kauai was at 26.4 percent.

• Maui County’s February supply was 354,800 room nights (down 0.3 percent), while Hawaii island had 186,800 room nights (down 0.2 percent), Oahu had 775,600 room nights (down 9.5 percent) and Kauai had 90,800 room nights (down 22.9 percent).

• Maui’s luxury resort region of Wailea had room revenue of $239 (down 61.9 percent), with average daily rate at $758 (up 7.5 percent) and occupancy of 31.5 percent (down 57.5 percentage points). The Lahaina/Kaanapali/Kapalua region had room revenue of $104 (down 67.8 percent), average daily rate at $364 (down 9.1 percent) and occupancy of 28.7 percent (down 52.3 percent).

• In February, Maui County had the largest vacation rental supply of all four counties with 213,200 available unit nights (down 7.7 percent) and unit demand was 112,000 unit nights (down 44.7 percent), resulting in 52.5 percent occupancy (down 35.1 percentage points) with an average daily rate of $281 (down 11 percent).

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.

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