MAUI TOURISM SHOWING SIGNS OF TURNAROUND

Editorial

The Maui News

WAILUKU, Maui (April 2, 2010) - Visitor numbers are up for the first two months of the year on Maui and, as noted here earlier this week, resort areas appear to be showing the first signs of a true economic turnaround.

Arrivals for February were up a strong 7 percent over the same month in 2009. According to a story in this paper Wednesday, for the first two months of the year, the numbers are up 4.8 percent over 2009.

The other good news is that visitor days are up 5.5 percent and that visitor spending per person per day is unchanged at US$178.80.

Maui - and Lanai - far outpaced the rest of Hawaii in percentage gain for February. Oahu was actually down 1 percent (perhaps because the Pro Bowl was played in Florida this year). Kauai was down 3 percent and the Big Island was off slightly less than 1 percent. Lanai carded a 10.5 percent gain.

For the first two months of the year, total arrivals statewide increased 1.4 percent while visitor days increased 2.5 percent.

Earlier in the week, we noted that the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization says the economic recovery has begun earlier than it predicted. Certainly these numbers from the Hawaiian Tourism Authority seem to bear that out.

The additional airline seats to Maui put in by Alaska Airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines should bear additional fruit in the coming months.

It would appear that Maui is poised for a quicker - and stronger - recovery than economists have been predicting.

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