As the new year approaches, Hawaii grapples with a downturn in hotel bookings and a reduction in airline seats, signaling challenges for the island’s tourism industry.
The recently released =, presented by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and covered by the Honolulu Star Advertiser, reveals a mixed scenario. While hotel occupancy in October increased by 2.3 points to 74.5 percent from the previous year, the aftermath of fire-related incidents, especially in West Maui, resulted in a year-over-year decline in average daily room rates, revenue per available room rates, and overall revenue.
Jeffrey Eslinger, Senior Director of Market Insights at Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, cautioned, “It really shows what we had, but the report doesn’t show where we are going.”
Looking ahead, hotel reservations in Hawaii paint a varied picture. December shows a 3.3 percent decrease, followed by a marginal 0.5 percent increase in January 2024. However, February 2024 is projected to experience a 5.6 percent decline in hotel reservations compared to the previous year. The trend persists, with a 26.8 percent decrease in reservations through October 2024, according to data analyzed by HVCB.
Despite these challenges, there are pockets of positivity. Maui witnessed a 1.6 percent increase in hotel room reservations as of November 5, but this is counteracted by declines in December and January and a significant drop of 26.1 percent in February 2024.
On the aviation front, an HVCB analysis of airline data indicates a decline in non-stop air seats statewide. The reduction stands at 3.2 percent as of November, deepening to 8.1 percent in December. The outlook for January 2024 suggests a further 4.7 percent decrease.
While Oahu anticipates a 1.5 percent increase in airline seats, the neighbor islands face declines. Eslinger highlighted that nonstop air seats from the U.S. to Oahu are forecasted as flat to positive from January to April, but the neighbor islands are experiencing setbacks.
The impact of Maui wildfires continues to linger, influencing potential travelers’ decisions to vacation on the islands. Eslinger emphasized the need to navigate these challenges in the tourism landscape.