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Record-high visitor spending rates at hotels, but arrivals remain lower than pre-pandemic

Honolulu airport 082922.jpeg
Sophia McCullough
FILE - Terminal 2 at Honolulu airport on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022.

Visitors continue to spend record-high rates at hotels, but arrivals remain lower than the summer before the pandemic. The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority discussed monthly visitor figures during its board of directors meeting last week.

Compared to July 2019, hotels last month saw increases of 30% or higher in key metrics — such as revenue per room and average daily room rate.

Visitor arrival numbers continue to recover from the pandemic, but there was a dip at two state airports.

"We continue to see increases through the month of July. However, slightly down in the last week or so of July, where Honolulu is down 16%, Kahului is actually down 5% versus when you look at some of the months in the past, Kahului has been up compared to the same time two years ago. Kona is down 2%, Līhuʻe is actually up 7%, and Hilo is up 12% compared to two years ago," said Jennifer Chun, the director of tourism research at DBEDT.

Chun says there are more air seats for domestic travel compared to 2019.

However, international arrivals are still lagging despite the return of flights from Japan.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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