Tourism trends looking good

LIHUE — The number of travelers to Kauai went up by 0.8 percent as compared to this time last year, according to a Tuesday news release from the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

The number of travelers to the entire state rose 3.7 percent in November compared with the same month last year.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said Tuesday more than 660,000 visitors came to Hawaii in November. It’s the ninth straight month visitor arrivals have hit records numbers.

Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau, said the number of visitor arrivals is one of the things she and her staff check when HTA releases their monthly statistics. The other two pieces of information to focus on are visitor expenditures and length of stay.

But as far as visitor arrivals, Kanoho said a 0.8 percent hop isn’t really considered too much of an increase.

“We were essentially flat this month,” said Kanoho.

For year to date, January through November, Kauai has increased visitor arrivals by 4.5 percent over last year.

“It’s a little bit better than I expected, actually,” Kanoho said. “I was thinking we were in the 3 to 4 percent range, and it looks like it’ll be in the 4 to 5 percent range over the last year.”

Statewide, visitor spending jumped 2.5 percent in November 2015, totaling $1.1 billion. That was driven by a 3 percent increase in total visitor days. Those visitors spent slightly less statewide, however. The person per day spending amounts decreased .5 percent to $195 per person.

On Kauai, person per day spending jumped 7.7 percent from last year to this year, to $182 per person.

“That’s good because that leads to total expenditures,” Kanoho said. “Year to date, we’re leading the state, up 10.9 percent.”

Length of visitor stays was up 1.1 percent this November compared to last, bringing Kauai to an average stay of 7.6 days.

“When I took this job 18 years ago (the average stay length) was four days,” Kanoho said. “I think time shares and a lot of vacation rentals that require a week stay has a lot to do with the average length of stay being so strong.”

December is shaping up to be just as stellar as November was, and Kanoho said she’s expecting a strong finish to 2015.

“The goal will be to hold the line for next year,” Kanoho said. “I think also to work on any of the areas and shortcomings we might have along the way for the island.”

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