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Hawaiʻi's visitor industry still facing challenges

Casey Harlow
Hawaii Public Radio

Hawaiʻi’s visitor industry, by every nearly every measure, remains hobbled after two years of COVID.

Reports on vacation rentals, hotel occupancy and visitor spending for November have all come out recently and statewide, occupancy and revenues are still well below 2019’s record highs.

Among vacation rentals — such as private homes or condos or rooms within them — both supply and demand are down from this November compared to November 2019.

The supply of available nights in such properties has declined by 40%. Demand was down even further, by nearly 46%. Only one number has increased and that’s the average daily rate of a Hawaiʻi vacation rental, which is up 17% from November 2019 to $246. Island by island, only Hawaiʻi Island saw an increase in vacation rental occupancy, all others saw declines.

As for hotels, November occupancy was down 19% from pre-COVID levels. Statewide, hotels were about two-thirds full whereas in November 2019, nearly 80% of all available hotel rooms had been occupied. Kauaʻi and Hawaiʻi Island hotels had the highest occupancy. On Oʻahu, hotels rooms were only half full.

Total visitor spending in November is estimated at $1.18 billion, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. This is down nearly 12% from November 2019.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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