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DBEDT: Impact of Maui wildfires continues, but with effort to reinvigorate jobs, economy : Maui Now


After recording three consecutive months of decreases in both visitor arrivals and visitor spending, November 2023 data showed a modest growth in visitor arrivals, but total visitor spending continued to decline compared to a year ago, according to state data.

The data was detailed by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and includes highlights from Maui and the fire impacted area of Lahaina.

On Nov. 1, 2023, most of West Maui, except for historic Lahaina Town areas destroyed by the August wildfires, reopened to tourism in an effort to bring back jobs and help Maui’s economy recover.

“The impact of the Maui wildfires continues to be felt in November’s figures, but with most of West Maui now reopened to tourism, there is a concerted effort to reinvigorate job opportunities and facilitate the economic recovery of Maui,” said DBEDT Director James Kunane Tokioka.

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There were 161,522 visitors to Maui in November 2023. While still below November 2022 (230,380 visitors, -29.9%) and November 2019 (232,330 visitors, -30.5%) levels, this was the highest number of visitors to Maui in the last four months.

Visitor spending was $375.5 million in November 2023, lower than November 2022 ($451.2 million, -16.8%) and November 2019 ($377.9 million, -0.6%) according to the DBEDT. The average daily census on Maui was 45,154 visitors in November 2023, compared to 62,613 visitors (-27.9%) in November 2022 and 61,437 visitors (-26.5%) in November 2019.

In the first 11 months of 2023, there were 2,280,349 visitors to Maui, compared to 2,660,079 visitors (-14.3%) in the first 11 months of 2022 and 2,784,485 visitors (-18.1%) in the first 11 months of 2019. For the first 11 months of 2023, total visitor spending was $5.25 billion, compared to $5.25 billion (+0.2%) in the first 11 months of 2022 and $4.61 billion (+13.7%) in the first 11 months of 2019.

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Statewide, a total of 731,233 visitors came to the Hawaiian Islands in November 2023, up 0.3% from November 2022. When compared to pre-pandemic 2019, this represents a 90.4% recovery in total visitor arrivals from November 2019.

As measured in nominal dollars, total visitor spending was $1.53 billion in November 2023, a decrease from November 2022 ($1.57 billion, -2.4%), but higher than November 2019 ($1.34 billion, +14.2%). 

In November 2023, 720,297 visitors arrived by air service, mainly from the US West and US East. Additionally, 10,936 visitors came via out-of-state cruise ships. In comparison, 719,022 visitors (+0.2%) arrived by air and 9,866 visitors (+10.8%) came by cruise ships in November 2022, and 792,547 visitors (-9.1%) arrived by air and 16,529 visitors (-33.8%) came by cruise ships in November 2019.

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The average length of stay by all visitors in November 2023 was 8.75 days, compared to 9.05 days (-3.4%) in November 2022 and 8.30 days (+5.5%) in November 2019.

There were 62,893 visitors from Japan in November 2023, which was a significant increase compared to November 2022 (25,968 visitors, +142.2%), but was still much lower than November 2019 (131,536 visitors, -52.2%). Visitors from Japan spent $94.7 million in November 2023, compared to $43.2 million (+119.4%) in November 2022 and $189.4 million (-50.0%) in November 2019. Daily spending by Japanese visitors in November 2023 ($249 per person) was more than November 2022 ($240 per person, +3.6%), but was less than November 2019 ($256 per person, -2.6%).

The influx of visitors from Japan remains strong with 62,893 arrivals and a recovery rate of 47.8%, marking the highest recovery rate since April 2020. “We maintain an optimistic outlook on the Japanese market, anticipating its continued contribution to tourism as we progress into 2024,” said DBEDT Director James Kunane Tokioka.

In November 2023, a total of 4,763 transpacific flights with 1,048,648 seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands, compared to 4,716 flights (+1.0%) with 1,026,142 seats (+2.2%) in November 2022 and 4,881 flights (-2.4%) with 1,072,805 seats (-2.3%) in November 2019.

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