Each year we try to put together a report of what tourism in Hawaii seems to be doing as well as how that is affecting the vacation rental industry on the Kohala Coast. Every year the data seems to be very telling as to what is going on. 2013 is the first year that not only is hard to decipher as far as trends go, but also seems to be a bit negative in relation to the previous years.
Overall tourism is up in Hawaii slightly with an increase of 2.5% from 2012 to 2013. The main factor driving this trend is international guests with Japan leading the way. The largest percentage increase has been in the “Other” category, which includes China. It is suspected with the increase in 2013, with Hawaiian Airlines lobbying to get a direct flight from China to Hawaii, and with China’s economic state that this number will drastically increase in the coming years.
When you look at how the islands fared specifically, Oahu was the only island with a significant increase. This logically makes sense given that the island of choice for the visitors from Asia tends to be Oahu. With an increase in international visitors, Oahu will typically see the largest increase in visitors. It is worth noting that some of the smaller islands such as Kauai and Lanai saw the largest percentage increase of international visitors.
What I found extremely interesting was that the largest increase in accommodation type was with vacation rentals. In years past, international visitors have traditionally stayed in hotels due to packages such as JALPAK and that the hotels typically have services for guests that do not speak English. In fact, vacation rentals were really the only type that saw an increase. Vacation rentals saw an increase of almost 5% while hotels saw an increase of just over 1%.
For the second year straight, there was a decrease in the average night stay. This is in line with the fact that the largest increase in people were due to vacations and conventions.
How does all of this relate to your vacation rental on the Kohala Coast? This is the first year in a while that there was not much change related to vacation rentals on the Big Island. With the visitors increasing by less than 2% and vacation rentals increasing by less than 5% there was some positive growth, but not as much as recent years.
As a whole, the State of Hawaii had a very positive first half of 2013 to offset a somewhat negative second half. While the first half of 2014 looks to be very positive, the second half is what will make the difference for 2014.