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Visitor count drops, spending climbs on Kaua‘i in April

LIHU‘E — A steep drop in the number of visitors to the island of Kaua‘i in April was of no consequence on the spending front, as tourists continued to plow piles of cash into the local economy.

As a result, total visitor spending climbed to $222.0 million in April from $211.9 million in April 2023 and from $135.8 million in pre-pandemic April 2019.

That marked gains of 4.8 percent and 63.5 percent, respectively, according to a monthly report from the state of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism (DBEDT).

In the same periods of time, the number of visitors retreated to 104,654 from 118,156 and 106,181 for decreases of 11.4 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Across the Hawaiian Island chain, visitor spending was well off on O‘ahu and Maui, but way up on Hawai‘i Island in the first full month of spring. The number of visitors was also down across the three other major islands.

Total visitor spending on O‘ahu was $612.2 million in April, compared with $723.7 million in April 2023 and $613.3 million in April 2019 for decreases of 15.4 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

In the same periods of time, the number of visitors fell to 441,685 from 454,287 and 487,367 for drops of 2.8 percent and 9.4 percent, respectively.

Total visitor spending on Maui was $390.5 million in April, compared with $544.8 million in April 2023 and $398.6 million in April 2019 for decreases of 28.3 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively.

In the same periods of time, the number of visitors sank to 174,582 from 243,245 and 247,984 for decreases of 28.2 percent and 29.6 percent, respectively.

Total visitor spending on Hawai‘i Island was $254.1 million in April, compared with $217.5 million in April 2023 and $149.1 million in April 2019 for increases of 16.8 percent and 70.4 percent, respectively.

The number of visitors measured 133,200 in April, compared with 138,448 in April 2023 and 130,224 in April 2019 for a decrease of 3.8 percent and an increase of 2.3 percent, respectively.

All told, total spending was down 12.6 percent across the Hawaiian Islands, while the total number of visitors was off 8.9 percent.

“Overall travel to the Hawaiian Islands was soft for April with total visitors by air decreasing 10.5 percent from April 2023. This is the first month that arrivals to O‘ahu decreased since March 2021,” said DBEDT Director James Kunane Tokioka in a statement that accompanied the monthly report.

“The decrease was partially due to Easter falling on March 31, which pushed spring break travel into March instead of April. Easter 2023 was on April 9, which affected the year-over-year performance. In reviewing a forecast provided by Jerry Gibson of the Hawai‘i Hotel Alliance, spring bookings are not picking up as indicated by previous estimates.”
Source: The Garden Island

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