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Maui and Big Island see arrivals, spending grow in March

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Duke Kahanamoku Beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort was busy, April 21, with a crowd including many visitors. Visitor arrivals to Hawaii in March increased for the first time in a year, but just a smidgen.

    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Duke Kahanamoku Beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort was busy, April 21, with a crowd including many visitors. Visitor arrivals to Hawaii in March increased for the first time in a year, but just a smidgen.

Visitor arrivals to Hawaii in March increased for the first time in a year, but just a smidgen.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority reported today that as many as 439,785 visitors traveled to Hawaii last month a 1.1% rise over the 434,856 who came in March of 2020, when pandemic-related fears and containment measures began to drop travel demand.

HTA said on any given day in March there were 137,440 visitors in Hawaii, a nearly 8% increase over the 127,760 visitors that came to Hawaii a day in March 2020.

Hawaii’s visitor industry hit rock bottom from March 26,2020 when the state implemented a 14-day-mandatory travel quarantine, until Oct. 15 when Safe Travels Hawaii provided a way for travelers to take a COVID-19 out of the quarantine.

Hawaii’s visitor industry has been slowly coming back from pandemic lows, but not all markets are rebounding equally. The international market is still almost non-exist due to travel restrictions, mostly on their end.

Nearly 98% of Hawaii’s March visitors came from the U.S., which was one of the reasons that Maui’s arrivals rose nearly 36% to 170,750, while Hawaii island’s arrivals increased nearly 6% to 82,687.

Oahu, which has a greater dependence on international travelers, took a 13.2% hit to March arrivals, which fell to 206,942. March arrivals on Kauai, which didn’t rejoin Safe Travels Hawaii until April 5, fell more than 73% to 15,133.

Spending by visitors in March rose to $745,900, a 3% year-over-year increase. However, visitor spending varied by island.

Maui’s visitor spending rose nearly 49% to $330,100. Hawaii island’s visitor spending increased to $129,600, up about 14%. However, visitor spending on Oahu fell more than 13% to $260,000 and Kauai’s spending plummeted nearly 67% to $26,300.

Per-person-per-day spending fell to $175 from last March’s $182.

Oahu’s per-person-per-day spending dropped nearly 14% to $148 without the usual amount of visitors from higher-spending international markets, especially Japan.

Hawaii island, which is the state’s only other international port of entry outside of Honolulu, saw per-person-per-day spending drop 5% to $162. Per-person-per-day spending on Kauai fell more than 6% to almost $168.

The start of spring break travel bolstered March arrivals some; however, first quarter visitor arrivals were still down 60% compared with the same time last year. First quarter visitor spending fell to $1.5 billion, down 61% from nearly $3.9 billion in March 202o.

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