Maui welcomed more than double the number of visitors in February compared to the same month last year and saw tourism spending levels similar to pre-pandemic days.
According to preliminary visitor statistics released Thursday by the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Maui welcomed 193,232 visitors in February this year, compared to 92,608 visitors in February 2021 when the state had travel requirements and restrictions.
These rates are still below pre-pandemic levels in February 2020, when there were 234,823 visitors to the island, and in 2019, when there were 221,603 visitors.
Visitor spending appears to be rising again and approaching pre-pandemic levels. Maui visitors spent a total of $402.8 million in February this year, $135.4 million in February 2021, $458.5 million in February 2020 and $413.2 million in February 2019 .
“With the lifting of the Safe Travels program, Hawaii will need to prepare for a different mix of visitors,” DBEDT Director Mike McCartney said in a press release. “There will be demand from local businesses; restaurants, transportation, retail, activities, and lodging, to attract and retain a quality workforce for Hawaii, which will bring more certainty to the economy. Small businesses in Hawaii now have the opportunity to attract and retain quality workers and employees.
A total of 630,647 visitors came to Hawaii in February, with 623,691 visitors arriving by air, mostly from the western and eastern United States, and an additional 6,956 visitors arriving by cruise ships.
Total visitor spending statewide in February this year reached $1.31 billion, compared to $397 million spent in February 2021.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and Hawaii’s quarantine requirements for travelers, the state had record spending and visitor arrivals from 2019 through February 2020, according to DBEDT, and it appears the island chain back in that direction.
About 1.2 million visitors arrived in Hawaii in the first two months of this year, which is “almost triple the number of visitors compared to the same period last year (407,259)”, says the report.
Year-to-date data shows the first two months of 2022 totaled $2.71 billion in visitor spending statewide, up significantly from the $795 million spent in the two first months of 2021. However, that was still less than the $3.19 billion spent. in the first two months of 2020 and $3 billion in the first two months of 2019, according to the report.
For January and February combined, total visitor spending on Maui was $827.2 million, which is close to pre-pandemic levels for the island. Last year, the report shows that around $264 million was spent in the first two months, while around $975 million was spent in the first two months of 2020, significantly more than in 2019 at approximately $887 million.
There were a total of 376,510 visitors to Maui in the first two months of this year, a 136% increase from the first two months of 2021 (159,533 visitors), but still slightly lower than 2020 when there were had 477,908 visitors in the first two months. of the year. There were 455,025 visitors in the first two months of 2019.
Maui still trailed Oahu’s numbers in February.
Unsurprisingly, Oahu recorded the highest number of visitor arrivals in the state, with 308,705 tourists in February this year, which is an increase from the 105,424 visitors who came in February 2021, but still below the 467,959 visitors in February 2020 and 454,687 visitors in February 2019. .
Visitor spending on Oahu hit $540 million in February, down from $164 million in February 2021, but still slightly below pre-pandemic levels at $601.7 million in February 2020 and $609 million dollars in 2019.
The islands of Kauai and Hawaii are also seeing a recovery in visitor arrivals and spending rates.
There were 88,428 visitors to Kauai in February of this year, compared to 7,349 visitors in February 2021, 110,478 visitors in February 2020, and 104,445 visitors in February 2019. Visitor spending was approximately $149 million in 2022 , an increase of nearly 400% from $29.7 million. passed in the middle of the pandemic in February 2021.
There were 122,480 visitors to the island of Hawaii in February this year, compared to 46,558 visitors in February 2021, 148,204 visitors in February 2020 and 138,387 visitors in February 2019.
Visitor spending was approximately $199 million, up from $62.9 million in February 2021, $218 million in February 2020 and $192 million in February 2019.
“As (Hawaii Tourism Authority) refines and implements its destination management plans, it will take collaboration with counties to find the balance and ensure the community is an integral part of the process as we all move forward. towards a regenerative visitor industry”, said McCartney.
“We must continue to be vigilant and remember that public health is the key to a healthy economy,” McCartney added. “Even though the formal Safe Travels program has ended, we hope everyone takes responsibility for keeping Hawaii safe.”
* Dakota Grossman can be reached at email@example.com.