Hawaii Hotel Industry, Arrivals See Steep Drops


The Honolulu Star Bulletin is reporting that all major Hawaiian hospitality indicators plunged to the lowest level in 22 years throughout March.

It was the first time that Hawaii had seen its occupancy, average daily room rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) simultaneously hit bottom. Statewide occupancy fell 10.4 percentage points to 66.9 percent while ADR declined 16.5 percent to $182.17, leading to a staggering 27.8 percent decline in RevPAR, the industry's best performance measure, according to a hotel flash report to be released today by Hospitality Advisors LLC.

Occupancy rates at Hawaii hotels in March and the same month last year, by island:

 Island 2009
 70.4 percent
77.4 percent
 64.3 percent
76.9 percent
 66.9 percent
80.3 percent 
Big Island
 56.7 percent
 72.1 percent
 66.9 percent
 77.3 percent

In addition to the poor accommodations numbers, air travel to Hawaii is sinking as well.

Tourism to Hawaii continues to weaken as arrivals to the island state fell 16.6 percent in March compared to one year ago, and arrivals for the first quarter fell 14 percent from nearly 1.9 million to 1.6 million, according to state figures released Tuesday. The 555,902 arrivals in March 2009 were down from 666,167 in March 2008 and although the average length of stay was solid at nearly nine days, tourists spent nearly 10 percent less.

Total spending by visitors arriving by airplane fell 258.4 million to $800.1 million in March, a decrease of about 24 percent. The average tourist spent $163 a day, which is down from $180 in March 2008.

Oahu fared the best a decline of 16.3 percent to 327,357. The smallest islands of Molokai (36.2) and Lanai (30) had the sharpest declines, followed by Maui (25.8), Kauai (24.7) and the Big Island (17.7).

The islands, in particular Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, were hurt by the loss of the Pride of Aloha, which was taken out of Hawaii's interisland market by Norwegian Cruise Lines in May 2008 and renamed the Norwegian Sky for service in the Bahamas. More than a third of the decline in arrivals on the Big Island and Kauai can be attributed to fewer cruise ship passengers.

While visitors from the East Coast decreased 20 percent, and the number of Californians traveling to the islands plummeted by 36 percent, contributing to the 25 percent drop from the West Coast, arrivals from Japan increased slightly by 0.6 percent, in part because of the strength of the yen.

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