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Maui County visitors reach highest monthly count since pandemic, new data shows

PC: Kehaulani Cerizo

Maui County visitor arrivals in June reached its highest monthly count since the pandemic, with 288,333 travelers coming to Maui, new state data shows.

When compared to pre-pandemic record highs, Maui arrivals last month were about 3% less than June 2019 arrivals, which marked 295,926 visitors, according to preliminary visitor statistics released Thursday by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

However, last month’s visitors numbers were the highest for Maui County since at least January 2020. The second highest month was July 2021, when visitors to Maui numbered 282,715.

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 June, visitors were nearly double the resident population and more than five times the Maui Island Plan target. 

Last month’s average daily census — the number of visitors on Maui on any given day — was about the same as 2019, the state report showed. The average daily census was 76,288 visitors in June 2022 and 76,008 visitors in June 2019.

Also, visitor spending last month was up 15% to $549.8 million, compared to $477.1 million in June 2019.

Through the first half of 2022, there were 1,406,058 visitors to Maui — compared to 1,522,534 visitors in the first half of 2019. 

For the first half of 2022, total visitor spending was $2.79 billion compared to $2.61 billion in the first half of 2019.

So far this year, there were 183,278 visitors to Maui in January; 193,232 in February; 239,538 in March; 254,398 in April; and 247,280 in May.

Overall, Hawaii’s visitor count of 842,927 in June was the second highest for the state since January 2020. The highest was July 2021 with 879,551 visitor arrivals.

Of the total visitors, 841,809 arrived by air service and 1,118 visitors arrived by cruise ships. In comparison, 947,112 visitors arrived by air and by cruise ships in June 2019.

Visitors spent $1.83 billion in the state in June 2022, an increase of 12.3% compared to the $1.63 billion reported for June 2019.

Hawai’i Tourism Authority President and CEO John De Fries said in a news release that average daily visitor spending in Hawai‘i increased significantly for the first half of 2022, in comparison to pre-pandemic 2019, with higher gains from the U.S. West, U.S. East and Canada markets.

“This significant shift indicates our current visitors are spending substantially more on their Hawai‘i trip, counter to the misperception that we are seeing a lower-spending, budget traveler,” he said. “Even with these higher-spending visitors, we must continue our efforts in destination management to ensure the balance of economic benefits with environmental and community well-being.”

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. 

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2022/07/29/maui-county-visitors-reach-highest-monthly-count-since-pandemic-new-data-shows/

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