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Visitor spending sets new high in July on Kaua‘i

LIHU‘E — Visitor spending on Kaua‘i jumped to its highest total of the year in July, as tourists continued to dig deep into their pockets and splurge while vacationing on the Garden Island.

The spending total climbed to $264.5 million in July, compared with $245.5 in July 2022 and $201.3 million in pre-pandemic July 2019, according to a monthly report from the state of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism (DBEDT). That marked gains of 7.7 percent and 31.4 percent, respectively.

Total visitor spending has exceeded $200 million in each month of the current calendar year, with the highest month previously being June at $251.4 million.

The most recent spending total also marked the first time this year that the figure on Kaua‘i eclipsed spending on Hawai‘i Island, which came in at $263.0 million in July.

The record-setting spending on Kaua‘i came amid an uptick in visitors to 139,771 in July from 138,882 in July 2022 and 139,157 in July 2019. That marked increases of 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Neighbor islands

Visitor spending on the three other major Hawaiian Islands was mixed in July.

Spending on O‘ahu weighed in at a hefty $870.7 million in July. That was up from $841.9 in July 2022 and $749.4 in July 2019. That marked gains of 3.4 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively.

Spending on Maui measured $623.4 million in July, compared with $607.6 million in July 2022 and $506.0 million in July 2019. That marked increases of 2.6 percent and 23.2 percent, respectively.

Spending on Hawai‘i Island was $263 million in July, compared with $276.7 million in July 2022 and $221.3 million in July 2019. That marked a decrease of 5.0 percent and an increase of 18.8 percent over the same respective periods of 2022 and 2019.

The spending totals were fueled by a 1.5 percent rise in visitors to 929,386 across the four major Hawaiian islands.

“July 2023 marked the 29th consecutive month with year-over-year growth in visitor arrivals. Year-to-date through July, total visitor arrivals recovered to 95.6 percent of the 2019 level for the same period. During the same period last year, the recovery rate was 86.8 percent,” said DBEDT Director James Kunane Tokioka in a statement that accompanied the monthly report.

However, overall tourism totals are expected to be down in August because of the devastation caused by wildfires on Maui earlier that month, including the deadly Lahaina Fire that claimed at least 115 lives.

“With the tragedy in Lahaina, 88 transpacific flights were canceled in August 2023 and the daily domestic passenger count to Maui decreased 70 percent since Aug. 9. There will be a significant impact on tourism starting in August,” Tokioka said.

“While we are requesting that visitors avoid West Maui (including Lahaina, Napili, Ka‘anapali and Kapalua) at this time, we encourage visitors to travel to the rest of Maui (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei, Wailea, Makena, Paia and Hana) and other Hawaiian Islands and support our local economy and the well-being of Maui and its recovery.”


Wyatt Haupt Jr., editor, can be reached at 808-245-0457 or
Source: The Garden Island

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