Hawaii gathers speed

HAWAII’S tourism momentum is tipped to continue in 2018, following last year’s new records in generated state tax revenue, visitor spending and visitor arrivals.

Hawaii Tourism Authority president George D. Szigeti said the authority had “good reason to believe tourism’s momentum can be sustained in 2018”, with air capacity projected to grow by 10.9% in the first quarter, totalling more than three million seats.

Growth in the opening quarter is set to be driven by increases from the markets of the mainland US (+14.1%), Other Asia (+24.3%), Oceania (+5.2%) and Canada (+2.9%). The numbers would follow on from a strong finish in 2017, with November bringing a 5% increase in air seat capacity and a 7.3% rise in visitor arrivals.

“Visitor spending of US$1.29 billion in November pushed the state’s total through 11 months to US$15.15 billion, which exceeds every full-year total up to 2016,” Szigeti said.

Timeshare properties also performed strongly in the third quarter of 2017, averaging a 90.1% occupancy rate statewide, outpacing hotel properties with an average 81.4% occupancy rate for the quarter.

During Q3 timeshare accommodation grew by 725 units to 11,233 statewide for the period compared to a year earlier with owners accounting for 56.9% of occupied room and timeshare owners participating in a timeshare exchange program claiming 19.9% of the occupied room nights.

Transient rental of units to owners and exchangers beyond their allotted timeshare stay as well as to the general public represented 15.5% of occupied room nights while the remaining 7.7% was used for sales and marketing purposes.

Timeshare visitors represented 9.8% of total visitors to Hawaii in the third quarter and had an average length of stay in the islands of 9.7 days, which was higher than the average length of stay of 8.8 days for all visitors.