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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 11:03 a.m., Friday, May 30, 2003

Tourist spending up on Neighbor Islands

Advertiser Staff

Tourists spent more per day on Neighbor Islands in the first three months of this year than they did in 2002 in another sign that tourism continues to rebound.

Out-of-state visitors spent an average $181 per person, per day on Maui in the first three months of this year, up from $172 a year ago, according to figures released today by the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.

Daily spending by out-of-state visitors on the Big Island was $143 per person, up from $138 a year earlier. Spending in Moloka'i was $77 per person, up from $74.

The only Neighbor Island to experience a decline in spending by out-of-state visitors was Kaua'i, where tourists used $144 per person, per day, down from $148 in the first quarter 2002.

The average per-person, per-day spending for the entire state was $165.2, up from $161.6 a year ago.

Lanai numbers were not included because the sample size was too small, the agency said.

Data collected are from out-of-state visitors who arrived on each neighbor island by air and do not include those who toured the islands by cruise ships.

DBEDT Director Theodore Liu cautioned that this is a new survey and drawing conclusions may be premature. "Because this is only the second year of the neighbor island visitor survey, we are only able to make preliminary year-to-year comparisons of first quarter results for Maui, Molokai and the Big Island," Liu said in a statement.

The survey confirmed a trend among visitors of going directly to Neighbor Islands without stopping in O'ahu. In Maui, for example, only 17 percent of the out-of-state visitors had also been to O'ahu, down from 35.5 percent in the first quarter of 2002.

More of the out-of-state visitors surveyed (75.2 percent) stayed exclusively on Maui compared to those who visited this island (53.0 percent) in first quarter 2002.

In Kaua'i, 31.6 percent of the visitors stopped in O'ahu, compared to 48.5 percent a year ago. And on the Big Island, 34.9 percent visited O'ahu as well, down from 51.3 percent a year ago.