July 2022 was a spectacular month for tourism in Hawaii. With vacationers taking advantage of the summer weather, Hawaii is continuing to recover from the pandemic. The state is incredibly close to reaching its previous visitor spending and visitor count numbers pre-pandemic. July 2022 has the highest visitor count at 919,154 since January 2020 at 852,037, making this month represent a 92.4% recovery since July 2019. Visitor spending has also increased 14.3% this month, with visitors spending $1.94 billion compared to $1.70 billion in July 2019. Visitor spending within the first seven months of 2022 has increased 5.8% to $11.16 billion, in contrast to $10.55 billion in the first seven months of 2019.
However, the state has seen a decline in the overall visitor count in the first seven months of 2022 at 5,350,486 compared to 6,166,392 (-13.2%) visitors in the first seven months of 2019. It is safe to assume that the discrepancy between visitors and the amount they spend during their vacation is due to inflated costs. Inflation has been rampant since the beginning of the pandemic and has affected all aspects of vacationing in the state, such as airfare, lodging, car rentals, excursions, dining, etc. As businesses continue to get back to their pre-pandemic revenue, they have increased their rates in order to survive. Combining inflation from the pandemic with visitors traveling during the peak tourism season when rates are already high can lead to a costly trip. It is safe to assume that the decrease in visitors is due to their unwillingness to pay the inflated rates. The upside is that the state may see an increase in visitors during the off-season months compared to previous years.
The average length of stay by visitors increased by 4.9% from July 2019 at 8.92 days to 9.36 days in July 2022. Every island in the state has seen an increase in lengths of stay O’ahu 8.3%, Maui 2.5%, Moloka’i 35.5%, Lana’i 38%, Kaua’i 5.4%, and the Big Island 12.3%. The Big Island has seen two huge spikes, the first being visitor spending at 21.6% and the second in the average daily visitor census at 9.5% compared to July 2019. The island of Kaua’i has seen the best statistics, with the island only seeing a decline of 0.7% in visitors from July 2022 (138,130) to July 2019 (139,157) and an 18.7% increase in visitor spending from $238.9 million in July 2022 to $201.3 million in July 2019. Even though visitor counts for the first seven months of 2022 in the entire state have not reached the pre-pandemic numbers of 2019, the state is moving in the right direction and is close to a full recovery. Arrival counts and visitor spending in total compared to 2019, Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) Director Mike McCartney states, Hawaii is currently 86.8% recovered from 2019, and a full recovery is expected in 2025.
At Waikoloa Vacation Rentals we have seen similar statistics for the summer months, but the fall seems to be back to pre pandemic numbers