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Visitor spending soars on Kaua‘i in February

LIHU‘E — Tourists proved willing to dig deep into their bank accounts while visiting Kaua‘i in February, as spending surged more than $50 million over the same period last year.

The end result was that visitor spending settled at $203.8 million in February, compared with $149.3 million in February 2022, and $152.8 million in pre-pandemic February 2019.

That marked an increase of 36.5 percent and 33.4 percent in the respective periods, according to a monthly report from the state Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism.

The spike in spending came amid an increase in the number of people who temporarily populated the island in February.

There were a total of 100,525 visitors to Kaua‘i in February, compared with 88,428 in February 2022. That was up 13.7 percent. But the most recent February total was down 3.8 percent from 104,445 visitors in February 2019.

The three other major Hawaiian islands also proved popular in February, with all posting substantial gains in visitor spending as well as total visitor counts.

“The overall visitor count recovered 96.7 percent during the first two months of 2023, as compared with the same period in 2019, and the recovery rate has been over 90 percent every month during the past six months,” said Chris J. Sadayasu, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism, in a statement that accompanied the monthly report.

The island of O‘ahu racked up the most visitors with 411,903 in February, compared with 308,705 in February 2022 and 454,687 in February 2019. Visitor spending rose to $626.6 million in February, compared with $540.1 million in February 2022, and $609 million in February 2019.

The island of Maui ranked second with 220,741 visitors in February, compared with 193,232 in February 2022 and 221,603 in February 2019. In the same respective periods, visitor spending measured $540.1 million, $402.8 million and $413.2 million.

Hawai‘i Island pulled in 137,444 visitors in February, compared with 122,480 in February 2022 and 138,387 in February 2019. Visitor spending came in at $244.1 million, $199.1 million and $192.3 million in the same respective periods.

Looking ahead, the outlook for the Hawai‘i tourism industry will likely be impacted by the airline industry plans for 2023.

“As currently scheduled, the number of flights from the U.S. mainland will reduce by 2,279 in 2023, but flights from international markets will increase by 3,445, with a net increase of 1,166,” said Sadayasu in a statement. “A slowdown in arrivals from the U.S. mainland and an increase in international arrivals is expected in 2023.”


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

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