Updated: October 6, 2022
The number of visitors present on any given day in May on Maui increased nearly 2% from the same time in 2019, and overall arrivals were close to pre-pandemic totals for the same timeframe, according to a report released Thursday.
Maui’s average daily census was 61,441 visitors in May 2022 compared with 60,389 visitors in May 2019, preliminary visitor statistics from the state Department of Business, Economic said. Average daily census measures the number of visitors present on any given day.
Overall, there were 247,280 visitors to Maui in May 2022, which is 2% less than 251,665 visitors in May 2019.
Maui Island Plan, which is part of the Maui County Code, calls for the number of visitors to be no more than one-third of the resident population. The 2022 resident population of Maui is about 155,000, and one-third of the island population is 51,600.
For May, visitors were about 40% of the resident population and 7% more than the Maui Island Plan target.
Visitors to Hawai’i in May reached the second highest rate since pandemic shutdowns, and May is the 13th consecutive month that US visitor arrivals have been higher than the same month in 2019.
Also, the U.S. market is on record pace for year-end arrivals while the international market remains low, the report said.
A total of 776,375 visitors came to the Hawaiian Islands in May 2022, which is nearly 92% of May 2019 totals, according to a state news release. May totals represent the second highest recovery rate since March 2020.
Visitors spent $1.56 billion in the state in May, an increase of 10.6% compared to the $1.41 billion reported for May 2019.
HTA President and CEO John De Fries said the visitor industry in May was bolstered by increased spending from US and Canada markets.
Hawai‘i’s visitor industry continued to see gradual recovery that month, primarily fueled by increased visitor spending from the U.S. and Canada.
“These visitors infused dollars into our economy that circulated in our shops, restaurants, accommodations, activities, attractions, and community-based festivals and events,” he said in the release.
For Maui, visitor spending was $454.3 million, up 13.5% from May 2019, when it was $400.4 million.
For the first five months of this year, total visitor spending for Maui was $2.24 billion compared to $2.13 billion in the first five months of 2019.
Looking at the second half of the year, DBEDT Director Mike McCartney said that there is a slowdown in flights from the US Mainland.
“However, we are looking forward to the steady return of international visitors, with an increase in arrivals from Japan,” he said in the release.
In 2019, Hawai’i saw a historic high of more than 10 million visitor arrivals, with 3 million landing in Maui County. Visitor arrivals remained strong into early 2020 before travel was shut down in March that year due to the pandemic.
Maui County residents since tourism reopened in October 2020 have increased calls for better tourism management. They have testified at many Maui County Council meetings about the negative impacts of over-tourism on limited natural resources, on infrastructure and on quality of life.
As a result, Maui County council members placed a temporary moratorium on the construction of units for hotels and other transient vacation rentals. Also, the council is mulling whether to place a permanent cap on transient accommodations for Maui.
The council sent the proposal to Maui Planning Commission and other advisory bodies for feedback. The measure now awaits an agenda date.