Maui sees bump up
in tourist spending

Visitors to Maui spent an
average of $173 per person per
day last year, up from $161 in 2002

Staff at the Haliimaile General Store, nestled on the slope of Haleakala, didn't have to wait for a state survey to find out that visitor spending on Maui rose more than 7 percent last year.

That fact was obvious from their sales receipts, said Alex Aland, assistant manager of the Pacific Rim restaurant and store, which has become a tourist destination during its 16 years of operation on Maui.

"People are spending more money on everything from food to wine to liquor," Aland said. "Sales are 10 to 12 percent higher this year than last."

Visitors to Maui spent an average of $173 per person per day in 2003, up from $161 in 2002, according to state figures released yesterday by the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.

On Kauai, visitor spending rose 2.8 percent to $147 from $143 the year prior.

Daily spending by visitors on the Big Island and on Molokai stayed relatively flat. Tourists on the Big Island spent $141 per person and Molokai tourists spent $83 per person.

Maui visitors, who averaged $77 per day for lodging, also spent more on sleeping accommodations than visitors to the other neighbor islands. Visitors on Kauai spent $58 per person, while visitors to the Big Island spent $55 and those on Molokai spent $38 per person.

At $35 per day for food and beverage expenses, Maui visitors also spent more these items than those staying on the other islands. In Kauai visitors spent $31 per person, Big Island visitors spent $29 per person and Molokai visitors spent $17 per person.

"Maui's continued emphasis on the upscale market has resulted in a substantial increase in visitor spending," said Marsha Wienert, Gov. Linda Lingle's tourism liaison. "Maui has been successful in establishing a brand and image that attract higher spending visitors."

Another reason for the island's higher spending figures is that Maui offers visitors many higher-priced attractions, such as eco-tours, horseback riding, cruises and golf. And there are a higher percentage of repeat visitors on Maui who are seeking something more than just the sun and surf, Wienert said. Nearly 56 percent of visitors surveyed on Maui had been to the island before while a majority of visitors surveyed on the other neighbor islands were first-timers.

Close to 77 percent of visitors surveyed on Maui and more than half of those on other islands said they stayed exclusively on one island.


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