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Visitor spending surges in November

LIHU‘E — The allure of the Garden Island in the post-pandemic era can be measured in a lot of ways, but none more telling than the number of people who flocked to Kauai and the money spent during their visits through November of 2022.

The number of visitors climbed past the six-figure mark for the ninth month in a row to 106,390 in November 2022 from 103,783 in November 2019, according to monthly data released Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, by the state of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism.

That represented a gain of 2.5 percent from the pre-pandemic era of November 2019, and gave Kaua‘i the distinction of being the only one of the four major islands to post an increase in visitors for the period.

Those visitors also proved willing to dig deep into their pockets, as spending soared to $161.7 million from $135.9 million in the same period. That was up 18.9 percent.

Through the 11-month period ended Nov. 30, the island welcomed 1,223,612 visitors, compared with 1,245,672 in the 11-month period ended Nov. 30, 2021. At the same time, visitor spending surged 14.8 percent to $1.99 billion from $1.73 billion.

The most recent data marks a significant economic turnaround from the start of the pandemic to present, something that is also being felt on other islands, in part because of international visitors.

“Hawaii tourism continued to steadily recover in November (2022) with international visitor recovery at 53.7 percent as compared with the same month in 2019; this is the highest international recovery rate since the start of the pandemic in April 2020,” said Chris Sadayasu, Director of the Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism, in a statement.

Island highlights

The island of O‘ahu attracted the highest number of visitors in November 2022 at 392,683. But that was down 16.2 percent from 468,684 in November 2021. On the bright side, visitor spending climbed 10.5 percent to $711.9 million from $644.3 million in the same period.

The island of Maui ranked second in total visitors with 228,803 in November 2022, or 1.5 percent less than the 232,330 in November 2019. Despite that dropoff, visitor spending jumped 15.2 percent to $435.2 million from $377.9 million.

Hawai‘i Island was third favorite landing spot with 127,032 visitors in November 2022, compared with 131,713 in November 2019. That was down 3.6 percent. Nevertheless, visitor spending leaped 19.6 percent to $192.3 million from $160.7 million.

The data, particularly as it related to visitor spending, was a shot in the arm for the island chain.

“The continuing trend of higher spending coupled with lower arrivals is promising for the state’s economy and the many small kama‘aina that count on the visitor industry,” said John De Fries, President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Bureau, in a statement.

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

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