Data helps Kaua’i know about vital U.S. west visitor

The 2001 Annual Visitor Research Report, released last week, offer glimpses into the spending nuances of the important visitor from the U.S. west region.

From the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, the report is available primarily online, at www.hawaii.gov/dbedt/stats.html.

U.S. west visitors spent $142.52 per person per day on Kaua’i last year, while visitors from the U.S. east spent $185.27 a day, and Hawai’i residents choosing Kaua’i for vacations spent $107.83 a day.

After lodging ($53.14 per person per night), total food and beverage was the largest single expenditure for the U.S. west visitor, $30.83 per person per day, followed by total shopping ($16.77 per person per day) and total transportation ($15.55 per person per day).

All Kaua’i visitors who responded to the DBEDT survey and kept accurate records of on-island spending, from all areas of the world, shows total lodging as the top per-person-per-day expenditure, followed by total food and beverage, total transportation and total shopping.

Broken down by individual islands, the statistics show that half of U.S. west visitors to Kaua’i came only to Kaua’i, and were nearly equally split up by accommodations into hotels (33.2 percent), condominiums (35.7 percent), and timeshare units (24.1 percent).

Over half of all Kaua’i visitors last year were from the western United States, and a majority of those (96.1 percent) were not a part of organized tour groups. Some 71.8 percent of those U.S. west arrivals were not part of prepaid packages last year.

Even with the events on and after Sept. 11 putting the world visitor industry into turmoil, the number of U.S. west visitors to the state last year actually increased over 2000, said Dr. Seiji Naya, DBEDT director.

Expenditures by visitors from the U.S. west region also increased last year, and on average all visitors stayed longer last year than they had in the previous decade, Naya said.

“I feel this goes to show that Hawai’i continues to be an attractive destination.”

The expenditure figures show that Japanese visitors on average spent more shopping than on lodging, a trend reversed by domestic visitors.

Kaua’i visitor days were off by 7 percent last year, due to lower arrivals from both the domestic and international markets. Kaua’i made up 12.9 percent of the state’s total domestic visitor days, but only 3.6 percent of international visitor days.

The average daily visitor census was 16,830, down 6.7 percent from the previous year.

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