level off after years of growth
By 2006, Hawaii had been to the
For this mature
destination, the past three years were glory years. Increased
airlift and the introduction of all-American, interisland cruise
ships to its ports drove visitor arrivals to record numbers: 6.9
million in 2004, 7.4 million in 2005, 7.4 million again last year,
according to the state's Department of Business, Economic
Development & Tourism.
In 2004, the U.S.
West sent a record number of visitors, the U.S. East sent its
greatest number since 1991, and the shrinking Japanese market
stabilized and then quivered with modest growth.
daily rates (ADR) combined with strong demand brought about a new
high in revenue per available room, or RevPAR.
spending reached $12 billion for the first time. Domestic visits
set a record at 5.4 million, while international arrivals declined
In its 2006-2015
strategic plan, the Hawaii Tourism Authority set a course to
increase per-day spending and length of stay, while moderating the number of
visitors who tax the state's resources. It was, in effect, chumming
for the more affluent tourist who would spend more, stay longer and
stabilize the industry as tourism continued to grow, albeit at a
By fate or good
planning, significant investment into Hawaii's infrastructure in
the early part of the decade helped reposition both individual
properties and key hotel markets to attract those higher-spending
visitors, according to a report by Honolulu-based Hospitality
benefited from this substantial cycle of new investment, the report
states, but the greatest impact was felt in Waikiki, which
continues to undergo a period of repositioning that has improved
the product base of the urban beach resort. Part of the
repositioning was the conversion of marginal accommodations to
and rebrandings drove up room rates in Waikiki and on the Neighbor
Islands, yet occupancies remained high as rooms left the market for
refits and conversions. But this year, as rooms and properties come
back on line, capacity is increasing and occupancy is beginning to
Hawaii now is
finding a plateau, where the air remains rarefied but the crowds
are less dense. There are more vacant rooms than last year across
all classifications, although properties remain fuller than the
In February, room
rates hit a record high, but with demand down almost 11%, hotels
lost money for the first time since 1991.
fared the worst, with RevPAR dropping a sharp 14.6%, according to
the DBEDT. Hotels began offering value-laden packages as advance
bookings flattened from the same period last year.
For the quarter,
room revenue fell for the first time since 2002, as a 7.5% increase
in ADR failed to offset a 9.2% decline in room demand. But visitor
spending grew 2.2% from first quarter 2006, to $3 billion, and
average daily spending rose 4.4%, according to the
here expect the tourism industry in Hawaii to emerge strong this
year. In Voices From Hawaii, Travel Weekly's Allan Seiden spoke
with four key executives about Hawaii tourism, present and
To contact the reporters who wrote this article, send
e-mail to Margaret Myre at [email protected] or Allan Seiden at [email protected].