Hawaii RevPAR equals record; ADR offsets occupancy decline

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Hawaii's hotel industry generated over $3.1 billion in 2007, matching the record set in 2006, according to a report issued late last week by Smith Travel Research, a hotel benchmarking firm.

Statewide, hotels reported new all-time highs in average daily rate and revenue per available room for the fourth consecutive year. ADR, which rose 6.8% to $199.87, more than offset a 4.2% decline in occupancy, while revenue per available room grew 1.2% to $150.49.

Meanwhile, the number of travelers to Hawaii fell last year for the first time since 2003, dropping 1.2% to 7.3 million, according to data compiled by the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and released last week.

But a shortfall in visitor numbers compared with two years of robust growth might not be viewed as a negative among Hawaii tourism officials. Hawaii has been more than willing to trade the planeloads of mass travelers who helped drive the state's arrivals numbers to a record high of 7.4 million over the last few years, for a lesser number of high-end, high-spending visitors from the U.S. and Canada. 

In economic terms that matter -- RevPAR, daily visitor spending, overall spending by Canadian arrivals and a measure of stability in overall length of stay -- tourism executives have much to cheer about. 

Alluding to the preliminary visitor statistics for the year, Marsha Weinert, Hawaii's tourism liaison, said, "We continue to be encouraged by the increase in visitor spending as well as ongoing growth in the number of visitors from markets such as Canada ... and the strong performance of Hawaii's cruise industry."

While total visitor arrivals dropped overall, arrivals from Canada climbed by 5.3%, according to the state's research data. Arrivals from the West Coast were up less than 1%, while East Coast arrivals were down 3.3%.

Daily spending statewide increased 2.5%,   to $182 per person. Per-day spending was up among all markets. Canadian visitors showed the largest increase at 5.5%.

The number of cruise visitors grew 20.6% to 501,698 in 2007. That includes air passengers who came to board ships and those who came by cruise ships.

The average length of stay across all islands was unchanged at 9.15 days.

To contact reporter Margaret Myre, send e-mail to [email protected].

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