Oahu drives Hawaii to record visitors in 2000

HONOLULU -- Hawaii reported record visitor totals in 2000, with 6.97 million people having come to the state.

The previous record was set in 1997 with 200,000 fewer visitors than in 2000, according to the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. The 2000 total was up 3.5% over 1999.

"The remarkable performance of the visitor industry in 2000 continues a growth trend showing that Hawaii has reasserted itself as a competitor in the global tourism market," said Seiji Naya, director of the department.

U.S. visitors supplied 4.4 million of the total for 2000, and international visitors totaled 2.5 million. Japanese visitors, who make up more than half of the international visitors, grew in number by 1.7% in 2000 compared with 1999.

Oahu visitor numbers rose 4.8% to 4.7 million in 2000 over 1999, while numbers in each of the other islands fell in comparison with the prior year. Above, Kaaawa Valley on Oahu. The number of U.S. visitors from the East Coast grew by 9.6% over 1999, and the number of visitors from the West Coast grew by 5%.

The island of Oahu propped up the state's total visitor numbers, growing them by 4.8%, with 4.7 million visitors in 2000 over 1999.

All the other islands' visitor numbers fell for the year. Kauai's visitor numbers fell slightly, by 0.9%. Maui numbers fell 2.2%; Molokai fell 8%; Lanai, 9.5%, and Big Island, 2.9%.

Hawaii's occupancy rate up

HONOLULU -- Hawaii's hotels and condominiums last year logged a statewide occupancy rate of 77.91%, the highest since 1987, according to PKF Hawaii, one of two firms that track hotel figures in the state.

PKF's study includes 40,000 of the approximate 71,000 hotel and condominium rooms in the state.

The 2000 occupancy rate was five percentage points over 1999, when hotels showed a 72.89% occupancy rate.

The average room rate in the state in 2000 was $151.79 a night, up from $144.53 a night in 1999.

The busiest months of the year in terms of hotel occupancy for 2000 were in March, July and August. The slowest months were in January and December.

Maui had the highest occupancy figures with 80.11%, followed by Oahu with 79%, Kauai with 74.84%, the Big Island with 72.76% and Molokai with 42.72%.

Maui was also the most expensive island, with an average room rate in 2000 of $189 a night. The Big Island had the second highest room rate of $175 a night, followed by Kauai at $170 a night, Oahu at $121 a night and Molokai at $79 a night.

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