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Maui Arrivals are Near Pre-Pandemic Levels, but Concerns Rise Over Cancellations

West Maui shoreline. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Air passengers to Maui are averaging around 5,143 people per day since the Governor David Ige’s Aug. 23 announcement, in which he urged travelers to refrain from non-essential travel to the islands through the end of October.

For Maui County, that represents a -2.6% decline from the same period in 2019, and a +4.7% increase from same period in 2018, according to daily passenger count data compiled by the Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism.

While arrivals on Maui are close to pre-pandemic levels for now, room cancellations for current and upcoming trips are starting to add up. Maui Hotel & Lodging Association Executive Director Rod Antone said, “Since the press conference on Aug. 23, the visitor industry in Maui County has been tracking room stay cancellations at a number of member properties. So far we have had a confirmed 52,004 room night cancellations resulting in $25.2 million in lost revenue.”

These numbers were based upon information provided by 23 out of the 47 property members that are registered with the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association. “This is very likely just a snapshot of the cancellation picture here as the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority has a total of 496 hotels, timeshares, condominiums, bed and breakfasts and other accommodations listed for Maui County,” he said.

“Most general managers I have spoken with have seen their occupancy rates drop from the high 80s down to 30% or even 20% occupancy,” said Antone, noting that many who canceled specifically mentioned reading about the governor’s announcement in the news, which was covered nationally, including a breaking online story in USA Today.

Kahului Airport has also seen inbound passenger numbers dropping from 7,000-8,000 passengers a day over the summer, to around 5,000 as the fall months begin; but tourism officials noted that visitor arrivals overall were already starting to decline when the announcement was made, as is historically the case in the fall.

According to Antone, there have been many other cancellations involving other businesses outside of accommodations that rely on visitors, such as tour groups and activities. He said, “So far I have heard no reports about layoffs yet among our members, although they say their employees are very concerned about what lies ahead.”

Besides the governor’s announcement, there’s also amended rules announced for Maui County that are set to go into effect on Wednesday, Sept. 15. The “Safer Outside” rules include: vaccine guidelines for eateries; reduced capacity for commercial recreational boating, ground transportation, and commercial tour operators; and gathering limits of 5 people indoors and 10 people outdoors. There will also be no spectators at indoor or outdoor sporting events.

Maui arrival data for each day since the governor’s Aug. 23 announcement:
(Sourced from the Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism)

Aug. 23, 2021: 4,957 (-2.3% from 2019; +6.9% from 2018)
Aug. 24, 2021: 5,354 (+27.3% form 2019; +28.5% from 2018)
Aug. 25, 2021: 5,382 (-2.7% form 2019; +0.3% from 2018)
Aug. 26, 2021: 6,055 (-0.9% from 2019; +13.5% from 2018)
Aug. 27, 2021: 4,952 (-27.6% from 2019; -22% from 2018)
Aug. 28, 2021: 6,138 (-14.9% from 2019; -9.4% from 2018)
Aug. 29, 2021: 4,288 (-25.3% from 2019; -16% from 2018)
Aug. 30, 2021: 4,409 (-10.2% from 2019; -11.4% from 2018)
Aug. 31, 2021: 3,903 (-21.3% from 2019; -11.3% from 2018)
Sept. 1, 2021: 5,019 (-0.6% from 2019; +12.3% from 2018)
Sept. 2, 2021: 6,439 (+26.5% from 2019; +25.2% from 2018)
Sept. 3, 2021: 6,095 (+30.8% from 2019; +33.8% from 2018)
Sept. 4, 2021: 6,121 (-3.3% from 2019; +1.9% from 2018)
Sept. 5, 2021: 4,828 (-0.6% from 2019; +3.6% from 2018)
Sept. 6, 2021: 4,898 (+0.8% from 2019; -2.6% from 2018)
Sept. 7, 2021: 4,399 (-2.7% from 2019; +24.9% from 2018)
Sept. 8, 2021: 4,502 (-9.9% from 2019; +16% from 2018)
Sept. 9, 2021: 4,842 (-11.2% from 2019; -9.7% from 2018)

For the month of August, Maui had 6,656 average daily passengers, up 4.9% from 2019 and up 21.5% from 2018. For the month of September (data compiled through Sept. 9), Maui had an average of 5,238 daily passengers, up 2.9% from 2019, and up 10.6% from 2018.

Statewide, there was an average of 20,810 passengers arriving daily in the islands over the same period–down -25.6% from 2019, and down -23% from 2018. The statewide data is posted below. (Sourced from the Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism)

Aug. 23, 2021: 22,485 (-17.9% from 2019; -17.8% from 2018)
Aug. 24, 2021: 20,846 (-13.5% from 2019; -12.9% from 2018)
Aug. 25, 2021: 21,360 (-23.3% from 2019; -21.4% from 2018)
Aug. 26, 2021: 22,617 (-29% from 2019; -26.2% from 2018)
Aug. 27, 2021: 19,959 (-41.4% from 2019; -37.3% from 2018)
Aug. 28, 2021: 22,503 (-33.4% from 2019; -32.9% from 2018)
Aug. 29, 2021: 18,226 (-37.8 from 2019; -32.2% from 2018)
Aug. 30, 2021: 17,768 (-36.2% from 2019; -38.3% from 2018)
Aug. 31, 2021: 16,908 (-34.9 from 2019; -28.5% from 2018)
Sept. 1, 2021: 23,292 (-9.3% from 2019; -8% from 2018)
Sept. 2, 2021: 25,024 (-6.9% from 2019; -10.2% from 2018)
Sept. 3, 2021: 25,246 (-9.6% from 2019; -1.1% from 2018)
Sept. 4, 2021: 24,224 (-18.2% from 2019; -17.9% from 2018)
Sept. 5, 2021: 19,080 (-31.8% from 2019; -29.2% from 2018)
Sept. 6, 2021: 18,970 (-27.3% from 2019; -30.7% from 2018)
Sept. 7, 2021: 18,570 (-29.8% from 2019; -16% from 2018)
Sept. 8, 2021: 18,201 (-29.8% from 2019; -23.6% from 2018)
Sept. 9, 2021: 19,301 (-31.3% from 2019; -30.9% from 2018)

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2021/09/11/maui-arrivals-are-near-pre-pandemic-levels-but-concerns-rise-over-cancellations/

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