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August has indeed been a tragic month here in Hawai’i with the recent wildfires on Maui. The full impact on individuals and businesses is yet to be determined. This edition of Hawai’i Travel News September 2023 has some guidance on visiting Maui and additional updates from the other islands.
Things are beginning to transition in response to this tragedy so continue to follow for updated guidance.
- West Maui is closed to non-essential travel. This includes the areas of Lahaina, Napili, Kaʻanapali, and Kapalua. The closure is in effect until October 17, 2023.
- The rest of Maui is open to tourism. However, some businesses and attractions in these areas may be closed due to the wildfires. It is best to check with individual businesses before making travel plans.
- The Hawaii Tourism Authority is encouraging visitors to travel to other parts of Maui. Visit them directly for the latest updates.
The wildfires that occurred in West Maui in August 2023 caused significant damage to the area. The closure of West Maui to non-essential travel is a necessary step to allow for the recovery of the area.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority is working closely with the Maui County government to support the recovery of West Maui. They are also working to promote tourism to other parts of the island.
If you are planning to travel to Maui, it is important to be aware of the latest travel restrictions and advisories. You can find more information on the Hawaii Tourism Authority website.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind if you are planning to travel to Maui:
- Book your accommodations early, especially if you are planning to travel during the peak season.
- Be prepared for some disruptions due to the wildfires. Some businesses and attractions may be closed, and there may be road closures.
- Be respectful of the people who have been affected by the wildfires. Avoid taking photos of the damaged areas without permission.
July 2023 Tourism Numbers
You can read the full report from the Hawai’i Tourism Authority website, below is a summary of key points.
A total of 932,713 visitors arrived in Hawaii in July 2023, which is a 1.5% increase from July 2022 and represents a 93.7% recovery in total visitor arrivals from July 2019. The total visitors in July 2023 spent $2.05 billion, which was higher than $1.99 billion (+2.8%) in July 2022 and $1.70 billion (+20.7%) in July 2019.
In July 2023, 929,386 visitors arrived by air service, mainly from the U.S. West and U.S. East. Additionally, 3,327 visitors came via a single cruise ship. The average length of stay by all visitors in July 2023 was 9.06 days.
There were 499,029 visitors from the U.S. West, 249,503 visitors from the U.S. East, 52,885 visitors from Japan, 27,056 visitors from Canada, and 100,912 visitors from all other international markets in July 2023.
In the first seven months of 2023, total visitor spending was $12.83 billion, up from $11.35 billion (+13.0%) in the first seven months of 2022 and from $10.55 billion (+21.6%) in the first seven months of 2019.
There were a total of 5,350 trans-Pacific flights with 1,175,655 seats serviced the Hawaiian Islands in July 2023.
For the island highlights, there were 528,585 visitors to O’ahu, 293,681 visitors to Maui, 139,771 visitors to Kaua’i, and 171,957 visitors to Hawai’i Island in July 2023.
In terms of flights and air seats to Hawai’i, there were 4,268 scheduled flights with 886,224 seats from U.S. West, 371 scheduled flights with 100,131 seats from U.S. East, 308 scheduled flights with 86,390 seats from Japan, and air service from Canada to Hawai’i is seasonal, with July through September typically being slower months.
Average Daily Room Rate for July
In July, Maui saw a significant drop of over 5% in the average daily room rate. However, this is for July and not August, so a further decline is expected in August due to the wildfires. Big Island Hawaii saw some increases, while Oahu remained about the same.
New Hotels and Restaurants on Oahu
There are several new hotels being built on Oahu. One of them is the AC Marriott 112 Room Boutique Hotel located downtown, right on Bishop Street. Construction is progressing well, with busy construction crews and visible progress.
Another hotel nearing completion is Renaissance Honolulu Hotel & Spa, located next to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. The bottom part will be hotel rooms, and the top 10 floors will be Renaissance residences. Matthew Grosso, the general manager from the ‘Alohilani, will run it as part of Highgate. The construction is expected to be completed by mid-September.
In Waikiki, the old Nike building is being transformed into mixed-use retail and Marriott timeshares. Although there is no confirmed completion date, this development is expected to revitalize the Ewa end of Waikiki.
Another hotel that opened earlier this year is the Wayfinder, located by the Ala Wai canal. It is a boutique hotel with a nice layout, electric Jeeps for rent, a small pool area, and a hot tub. The on-property restaurant, Redfish, claims that their poke is made by Foodland, known for having some of the best poke on the island.
Just down the road at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach, the new Monkeypod Restaurant has opened. The decor is beautiful, with natural wood tones and relaxing vibes. Additionally, there is a new tequila and taco bar in the ‘Alohilani Hotel called Luna’s Tequila Bar.
At the International Marketplace on the second floor, the Mitsua Marketplace has a new food hall called The Japan, welcoming four new vendors: Ramen Taiga, Carp Dori, Tempura Endo, and Curo Uni.
Upcoming Events in September
In September, there are some fun and exciting events, including the Aloha Festival, which features the Waikiki Ho’olaulea and the annual floral parade through Waikiki. Another event for a great cause is the Great Hawaiian Rubber Ducky Race, benefiting United Cerebral Palsy Hawaii.