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Hawaii visitors spend record $1.42B in hotels over summer

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    An area in front of the Hyatt was part of the sand replenishment project, which significantly raised the beachfront area. The new sand has a grayer look.

Hotels in Hawaii set another all-time single-month record in August, bringing in $339 million in revenue to cap off the best summer ever for the state’s tourism industry.

The August revenue was $3 million better than July — a record at the time. It was also a 9.1 percent increase compared with August of last year, when hotel room revenue was $311 million.

A survey released today by Hospitality Advisors LLC says total hotel revenue hit $1.42 billion in the summer months of June, July and August, with $965 million spent on rooms. The rest was spent at restaurants and bars, parking, retail and other hotel offerings.

Total summer revenue was up 8.5 percent over $1.31 billion in total summer hotel revenue in 2012. It’s the fourth straight summer of big jumps in hotel revenue since 2009, when the Great Recession battered Hawaii tourism and sent summer hotel revenues down more than 20 percent to about $880 million.

Hospitality Advisors CEO Joseph Toy says the boost in revenue was helped by a 7.7 percent summer increase in capacity for air travelers. Airlines are using planes with more seats and running several new routes from U.S. states and Asia.

"Not only has Hawaii’s U.S. market been strong, but we have also enjoyed a significant expansion in international arrivals, particularly from Asia, including Japan, China and Korea," Toy said.

Higher nightly room rates in August more than offset a slight drop in occupancy. Hotel rooms cost an average $240 per night, up 11.2 percent compared with August last year. Occupancy dropped 1 percentage point to 80.2 percent, the survey said.

Kauai was the only island that increased its occupancy at all in August, a slight increase of less than 1 percentage point thanks to travelers spending slightly more time there than during the same month last year.

The survey conducted by the local hospitality firm and Smith Travel Research includes 162 hotels, accounting for more than 48,000 rooms and 85 percent of all hotels with 20 rooms or more in the state.

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