Thursday, July 22, 1999

Hawaii hotel occupancy
increase ends 26-month skid

Star-Bulletin staff


Ending 26 straight months of negative reports, Hawaii's hotel industry recorded a slight increase in occupancy last month over June 1998.

Statewide occupancy averaged 71.42 percent last month, up from 70.99 percent in June 1998, said PKF-Hawaii, the accounting and consulting firm that has tracked hotel occupancy since 1972.

It was the first month since March 1997 that the PKF report showed an occupancy increase over the year-earlier month. And March 1997 was preceded by 10 straight monthly declines.

"Although ever so slightly, it is encouraging to finally see an increase in hotel occupancy," Ernie Watari, PKF-Hawaii chairman and chief executive officer, said yesterday. "However, it is much too early to establish that a turnaround has occurred."

The statewide average room rate in hotels and resort condominiums last month was $134.74, a slip of half a percentage point from $135.42 in June 1998, according to PKF. Waikiki continued to feel the dip in travel from Japan, but almost broke even with an average occupancy of 73.59 percent, compared with 73.89 percent in the year-earlier month.

Oahu as a whole had 72.09 percent occupancy last month, down from a year-earlier 72.98 percent. Big Island occupancy increased to 64.47 percent, from 63 percent. Maui showed a 74.38 percent occupancy level, up from 71.85 percent in June 1998, and Kauai was at 70.9 percent, up slightly from 70.36 percent. Molokai averaged 35.49 percent last month, compared with 33.46 percent in the year-earlier month.

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